When you go to the doctor or the hospital, you expect to be treated in order to improve your health. And most of the time, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals work tirelessly to care for patients and provide excellent care.
However, healthcare is complicated, and mistakes do occur. Patient safety is an important aspect of the healthcare process.
It is important to understand what patient safety is and some basic facts about it that this article has explored for you, keep reading to find out more.
Definition of Patient Safety
Patient safety in clinical care refers to clinical providers’ efforts to reduce or avoid preventable harm to patients during treatment, as well as the need for strategies to keep patient health risks as low as possible.
Patient safety initiatives aim to reduce physical, mental, or emotional harm while also protecting private patient information.
These initiatives may include protocols to prevent accidents, neglect, or misdiagnoses that could harm the patient inadvertently, as well as reporting issues that arise.
Issues with Failure to Prioritize Patient Safety
When hospitals and other healthcare organizations do not prioritize patient safety, it can create an environment in which patients are more vulnerable.
Patients may experience the following symptoms if more errors are made and not caught by another member of the healthcare team: Risky complications, slowed recovery, unneeded death, infections, and increased medical costs
Diagnostic errors, healthcare-acquired infections, falls, medication errors, and readmission are all common examples of patient safety issues.
Diagnostic mistakes include missed, incorrect, or unintentionally delayed diagnoses. Sometimes symptoms are unusual or masked, or the patient does not fully cooperate in care, making diagnosis difficult. Errors can also occur as a result of system issues such as equipment malfunction or a lack of communication.
Infections Acquired in Healthcare
A healthcare-acquired infection occurs when a person becomes ill while receiving treatment. The infection must occur after the treatment begins and can occur either in a medical facility or at home. Catheter-related bloodstream infections, hospital-acquired pneumonia, and surgical site infections are the most common types of healthcare-acquired infections.
Every year, falls cause a large number of injuries both in and out of healthcare settings. Patients may be at a higher risk of falling if they: have a poor memory, Are over the age of 60, have muscle weakness, use a cane or walker, and take multiple prescription medications.
Medication errors happen when patients are given the incorrect medication. They also include receiving the correct medication but in the incorrect dose, at the incorrect time, or in the incorrect manner.
A medication error could be giving a patient a pill form of medication when a liquid form would be more appropriate.
A readmission occurs when a patient returns to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. A number of factors can lead to hospital readmission, including the following: Care of poor quality, premature discharge Discharge to unsuitable locations, and Inadequate recovery information or resources.
Patient Safety Importance
Here are some basic importance of patient safety you need to know.
Providing Excellent Care
One of the primary advantages of patient safety efforts is that they result in higher clinical care standards. Misdiagnosis safeguards, for example, ensure that patients are treated for the correct underlying condition; they assist providers in ensuring that they are treating the root illness, not just a peripheral symptom or side effect.
These efforts, combined with improved hospital discharge procedures, have the potential to improve care for patients with chronic conditions while also lowering hospital readmission rates. A patient safety program can also help ensure that all of a patient’s physical and emotional needs are met, even if their treatment requires a lengthy stay in a healthcare facility.
Patient safety programs aid in the reduction of avoidable infections or injuries.
Medical teams with strict facility sterilization and sanitization policies may see a reduction in patient infections, such as pneumonia or surgical site infections. Hand hygiene and patient screening procedures can also aid in infection control.
Patient safety protocols can be relied on by nurses and physical therapists to keep patients from injuring themselves during rehabilitation, whether through overexertion or by putting too much strain on an area that is still tender from surgery. Patients who are still weak may slip and fall even during brief walks around a hospital floor if proper assistance is not provided.
Medication management protocols implemented in medical facilities can help reduce drug errors, which can occur during the prescribing and dispensing stages and result in additional patient interventions or serious patient harm.
Safeguarding Private Patient Data
Patient safety also includes information security. A patient safety initiative’s primary goal is to ensure that all sensitive patient information related to their medical history or finances is kept secure. This protects the patient from embarrassment, frustration, or financial loss while also protecting the organization from potential regulatory issues.
Errors in patient safety cost medical organizations money. Providers may have to spend more money and time to treat injuries or infections that could have been avoided.
Meanwhile, significant lapses in patient safety, such as data breaches, may result in expensive patient lawsuits. Errors can also lower a facility’s quality ratings, resulting in lower patient volumes or lower reimbursement rates. Patient safety protocols can save money, reduce legal risk, and boost a hospital’s reputation.
Patient safety examples and fact
These are some common examples and facts about patient safety that you should be aware of in order to better prepare yourself to influence positive patient outcomes.
- Adverse events caused by unsafe care are likely among the top ten leading causes of death and disability worldwide, killing over 2.5 million people each year.
- One out of every ten hospital patients is harmed in some way. Approximately half of those incidents are avoidable.
- Medication errors are the leading cause of patient harm in hospitals, costing an estimated $42 billion in US dollars.
- Dealing with adverse events consumes about 15% of total health spending.
- According to studies, investments in improving patient safety can result in significant cost savings: between 2010 and 2015, focused patient safety efforts in Medicare hospitals in the United States resulted in a $28 billion savings.
- An infection affects approximately 10% of hospitalized patients; experts estimate that low-cost infection control measures can reduce infection rates by 55%.
- Every year, more than one million patients die as a result of post-surgical complications worldwide.
- Diagnostic errors are responsible for approximately 10% of patient deaths in the United States.
- With over 3.5 billion X-rays performed globally each year, increased X-ray exposure remains a patient safety concern.
- Millions of patients are harmed each year as a result of incorrect or delayed medical diagnosis, with roughly half of the cases resulting in severe harm.
Patient safety begins at the very top.
First and foremost, institutional patient safety begins at the top. This means that hospital leadership is fostering a culture of patient safety rather than dictating rules for employees to follow.
It is critical to recognize the distinction. We are generally forced to follow rules, and we do so reluctantly, taking every opportunity to break them. Culture is built on belief, which forms the basis of our self-image and governs our actions and behaviors.
Building or changing culture is not easy, but a good starting point is for your hospital’s leadership to truly embrace patient safety and provide positive reinforcement for behaviors that promote it.
Patient Safety goal
Setting goals is essential for any performance improvement. If you are unsure where to begin, I recommend reviewing the Joint Commission’s 2018 National Patient Safety Goals.
This initiative aims to improve patient safety by outlining goals centered on healthcare safety issues and how to solve them.
The objectives concentrate on various areas, treatments, and procedures that could all be improved in the name of patient safety.
They are presented in such a way that they not only explain why the Joint Commission chose them but also the elements of performance required to meet them. Meeting these objectives is critical for any hospital seeking Joint Commission accreditation.
Conclusion on Why is patient safety important
In layman’s terms, patient safety refers to how hospitals and other healthcare facilities protect their patients’ well-being by avoiding errors, injuries, or accidents, as well as making poor judgment calls that may cause harm or endanger lives.
According to the World Health Organization, patient safety is a fundamental discipline that encompasses all aspects of a comprehensive healthcare system.