Ask any healthcare provider why they are in this line of work, and the answer is almost always along the lines of “I want to help people.” That help comes in many ways: diagnosis, surgery, recuperation, rehabilitation, routine care, palliative care, and so much more. Healthcare is a widely diverse and growing field, with many different ways to plug in and improve the lives of patients.
One major element that crosses all those types of job, and care? Patient safety. Keeping those entrusted into their care safe and secure is one of the highest goals for all healthcare providers. That’s why there are so many initiatives and requirements around patient safety, and also why Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 10-16) is a wonderful time to give the topic some exploration.
Preventing harm in care settings is a multifaceted goal. Every step of the patient-care journey can offer potential pitfalls, including:
- Diagnostic errors
- Medication errors
- System failures
- Setting-acquired infections
These and other adverse events obviously should be avoided at all costs and eliminated if at all possible. For that to happen, a global approach to safety, one that takes into account all aspects of care and ensures that safeguards are in place throughout, is essential. At the same time, drilling down into specific areas of concern also goes a long way toward improving patient safety and outcomes.
Addressing concerns now and in the future
For instance, surgical-safety protocols, such as the Safe Surgery Saves Lives Checklist, which was developed by the World Health Organization in 2008 and provided a 19-point checklist that has helped lower deaths and complications significantly in participating hospitals.
Similarly, a great deal of time, attention and research has been devoted to hospital-acquired infections. By identifying practices (or lack thereof) that can lead to infection, healthcare providers have achieved reductions that have not only improved patient outcomes, but also substantially reduced treatment costs in many instances.
Patient safety is about reduction — of risk, of incident, of likelihood. Lowering the risk to patients from errors, injuries and infections is key to providing the best quality care. At the same time, safety protocols also help keep employees from injuries themselves, and make the facility a better run, more cost-effective provider of excellent healthcare. And because hospitals and other facilities are publicly graded and scored on their safety records, a robust patient safety platform is also a sound business practice.
Time for a closer look at your safety practices and protocols? Let HCCS, A HealthStream Company, lend a hand. Our regulatory compliance training solutions help acute and healthcare continuum providers meet government regulations and accrediting body requirements. With curriculum based on current requirements, clinical guidelines, regulatory accrediting body standards and more, HCCS brings a wealth of knowledge to and through its regulatory libraries and training programs. Click here for more information about our Patient Safety Library, and how to get started.