Friday, October 18, 2013

Culture of Patient Safety

Many hospitals have put in place patent safety programs in order to help reduce hospital-acquired infections, but further steps are necessary to prevent avoidable patient deaths.

Taken from FierceHealthcare, below are five steps to create a culture of patient safety that can prevent avoidable patient deaths:

1. Develop a system of transparency. The government needs to lead in the creation of a standardized process for hospitals to define, measure and report healthcare-acquired infections (HAI) and healthcare-acquired conditions (HAC). Kiani called for Congress to require hospitals to publicly report HAI and HAC rates to facilitate quality comparisons.

2. Create incentives and disincentives. He suggests Congress suspend payments to hospitals that don't have evidence-based strategies for prevention and shield hospitals that do implement evidence-based practices from malpractice lawsuits through an affirmative defense and limits on damages.

3. Establish a "patient data super highway" so hospitals can openly share data with each other, patients and all parties that can use the information to improve patient safety.

4. Extend legal safe harbor to medical technology companies to encourage reporting of adverse events.

5. Assign a patient advocate to every hospital so patients and their families have someone to turn to if they experience a lack of empathy or problems with communication related to their care.

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