Friday, January 4, 2013

TeamSTEPPS: Reducing Medical Errors

According to an article published in The Washington Post, preventable medical errors such as hospital acquired infections, surgical missteps and pharmaceutical prescription mistakes cause tens of thousands of patients to die or become harmed every year. And poor communication between healthcare workers is why.   

However, a healthcare provider training system known as TeamSTEPPS has come to light in recent years and has helped eliminate preventable medical harm.  

The Department of Defense Patient Safety Program and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality joined forces about nine years ago and pulled together more than 100 independent experts to help develop tools, strategies and a training system for healthcare professionals working in high-stress situations and also for those in ambulatory care settings.  

The principles are based off research from teams working in high-risk environments, such as the military, aviation and nuclear power. Here, the consequences of making a mistake are huge. The training educates medical teams about human factors that contribute to medical errors, such as team members being too submissive to someone with a higher rank.

Teams are taught four different skill sets: situation monitoring, communication, leadership and mutual support. If, for example, a surgeon is about to operate on the wrong side of a patients’ body, anyone who has information about it should feel comfortable to speak up, no matter the circumstances.  

TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) is available free online, and the curriculum includes assessment, planning, training, implementation and sustainment phases.  

Currently, TeamSTEPPS is being used in all 50 states, and has reached about 25 percent of hospitals in the country.
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At Snyder & Wenner, we strive to keep the community safe when hospital care is involved. We have become patient safety advocates by representing patients who have been harmed from hospital error. If you know someone who has been seriously injured from a hospital error, please contact us.  
Snyder and Wenner, P.C.
2200 E. Camelback Road
Suite 213
Phoenix, AZ 85016

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