In honor of this being Patient Safety Awareness Week, this week, we thought it timely to discuss some of the top 10 patient safety issues for 2018 and how the right risk management technology can address the issues.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the top 10 safety issues for 2018 are:

  1. Disparate EHRs
  2. Hand hygiene
  3. Nurse-patient ratios
  4. Drug and medical supply shortages
  5. Quality reporting
  6. Resurgent diseases
  7. Mergers and acquisitions
  8. Physician burnout
  9. Antibiotic resistance
  10. Opioid epidemic

Many of these safety issues can be addressed by adopting the right healthcare risk management technology—specifically risk management technology that can improve patient event reporting, rounding practices and root cause analysis effectiveness.

Patient event reporting

The accurate and efficient sharing of patient information is a recurring theme in discussions on patient safety, and this Top 10 list is no exception.

As more hospitals adopt technology to tackle this issue, they’re finding that the technology’s usability determines whether clerical task-weary physicians and staff will use it at all. Without the sharing of information, hospitals miss out on the many learning opportunities and risk mitigation that come from patient event reporting.

Besides usability, the technology you use to share information should support your culture of transparency in reporting “near misses” as part of the patient event-reporting process. The right risk management technology simplifies patient event reporting through features like:

  • Easy entry of events with icon-driven safety event portal
  • Easy look-ups for patients, providers and drugs
  • Physicians can dictate notes/information into the system
  • Easy-to-upload images and documents
  • Notifications and task assignments
  • Manage peer review and FPPE cases
  • HIPAA risk assessment and breach notifications

Rounding practices

Considering the number of items on the Top 10 list that could be improved through observation and communication, it’s not surprising that more hospitals are investing in non-clinical rounding programs—structured check-ins with patients, their families or particular areas of the hospital.

Read, “New CMS Rule, Customer Centricity Push Patient Safety Forward.” 

But the execution of these rounding practices is more difficult than they appear on the surface because of the logistics involved with organizing stakeholders, structuring the intake feedback and then taking action on the information gathered.

The right risk management technology will have an integrated platform that allows healthcare providers to assign rounds to assess compliance with internal or external/established standards; efficiently record data; and manage deficiencies and corrective actions for patient, visitor and employee safety, environment of care, accreditation survey (or continuous) readiness, CDC infection control standards and more.

Root cause analysis

Uncovering and addressing the most direct threats to patient safety on the Top 10 List relies on the frequently and immediately conducting root cause analyses. RCAs are a critical safety improvement and risk management tool.

But in many organizations, they aren’t being conducted frequently enough; fast enough after an event is discovered and reported; and, in too many cases, their findings aren’t driving corrective actions. With the right risk management technology, however, all this can change—allowing for:

  • Comprehensive standard healthcare RCA process
  • Easy access to all related information in a single view
  • Automatically generated intuitive visual timeline—including relevant images/documents—from narrative event details
  • “Five Whys” analysis
  • Documentation of casual and contributory factors
  • Automatic assignment and management of corrective actions based on RCA findings

In conclusion, Patient Safety Awareness Week is a good time to reflect upon what your organization is doing to address the serious issue of patient safety, including what tools and technology you’re using to protect your patients and your healthcare organization.