Making patient safety a priority
Written by Michelle Strider, chief quality officer, Novant Health UVA Health System
Doctors, nurses and other health professionals dedicate their lives to caring for their patients. But providing healthcare can be complicated. There are often multiple steps involved in a patient visit. Many different people in different professions may take part in the care of a single patient. And, patients may be confused by unfamiliar words and technical language.
Although hospitals and healthcare professionals take many steps to keep their patients safe, medical errors can happen. Often, medical errors (also called adverse events) happen when there is a single misstep in a chain of activities.
It is estimated that over 100,000 people die each year in the U.S. from medical errors in hospitals, and millions are harmed in ways that could result in disability, pain and suffering, or extended hospital stays.
Five major categories of errors result in the majority of harm. They are wrong treatment or wrong patient errors, medication errors, hospital-acquired infections, falls and diagnostic errors (often the result of errors related to diagnostic tests).
There are three things we can do to prevent the majority of errors that could happen in our hospital.
- Use two patient identifiers whenever we do anything to one of our patients.
- Have hand hygiene diligence.
- Ensure clear and concise communication with team members, especially when handing off care to another provider.
Remember, it is your job to speak up and report your concerns about patient safety.
Thank you for all that you do to provide safe, remarkable care!
"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm." — Florence Nightingale