We have previously posted about the value of time in healthcare and the impact that it can have on the quality of patient care. The implications of ‘time’ are significant because it can affect a patient’s experience throughout the continuum of care and also their safety.
Diving more deeply into the topic, The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) recently hosted a webinar, Free from Harm: Accelerating Patient Safety Improvement, that provided an overview of the current state of patient safety in the United States. The webinar covered information presented in their report which was an update of a similar report 15 years earlier.
While there has been significant progress related to public health issues, they still happen at an unacceptably frequent rate – resulting in quality of life implications for patients and care issues for health systems. The bottom line is it’s a complex problem, and solving it will require a comprehensive shift from reactive interventions to a system-wide approach to care.
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An expert panel of physicians and other healthcare professionals came up with eight action items for achieving total system safety:
- Ensure that Leaders Establish and Sustain a Culture of Safety – An organizational culture that enables and prioritizes safety needs to be established from the top down. Professionals need to be held accountable for issues, but not punished for human mistakes. When errors are identified, they need to be handled proactively and processes need to be put in place to prevent recurrences.
- Create Centralized and Coordinated Oversight of Patient Safety – Optimizing patient safety efforts requires the involvement, coordination, and oversight of national governing bodies and other safety organizations. This will help avoid unnecessary duplication and make sure valuable lessons are shared.
- Create a Common Set of Safety Metrics that Reflect Meaningful Outcomes – Access to data and the ability to measure as much as possible is critical to the process of continuous improvement.
- Increase Funding for Research in Patient Safety and Implementation Science – To make substantial advances in patient safety, it’s important to understand the hazards and find ways to prevent them. Appropriate, sustained funding is key to making this happen.
- Address Safety Across the Entire Care Continuum – Patients deserve safe care in and across every setting. Health care organizations need better tools, processes, and structures to deliver care safely across their systems and to evaluate the safety of that care.
- Support the Health Care Workforce – Workforce safety, morale, and wellness are absolutely essential to providing safe care. Nurses, physicians, medical assistants, pharmacists, technicians, and all others need organizational support to effectively do their jobs and live up to their full potential as healers and caregivers.
- Partner with Patients and Families for the Safest Care – Patients and families need to be actively engaged at all levels of health care. At its core, patient engagement is about the free flow of information between caregivers and patients.
- Ensure that Technology is Safe and Optimized to Improve Patient Safety – Technology has the proven potential to improve patient safety and widespread use has led to demonstrable reductions in medical errors.
TeleTracking offers operational solutions that help health systems deliver the right care, at the right time, to the right person in the right location. If you’d like to learn more, contact us at email@example.com or 800-331-3603.