Improving patient safety in hospital

Patient safety and healthcare quality are two critical and high priority fields for hospitals. Not only do they involve complex work but they also require excellent coordination between patient and caregivers. Several hospitals are spending millions to improve, research, innovate and deliver better patient safety. No wonder, hospital patient safety, is one of the top priority areas for almost every hospital leadership team these days.

The field of medical science is very sensitive because any medical error can have serious consequences. Therefore, it is extremely important for doctors and caregivers to educate their patients about how they can improve their safety during their stay in the hospital and get back to their healthy state sooner.

Here are 5 ways hospitals can improve patient safety across their organization.

1. Promoting patient safety

One of the best ways to demonstrate a hospital’s commitment towards safety of their patients is to maintain uniformity in their operations across all their departments. Even better, if organizations can assign a safety leader for every unit, it will make the staff and patients feel more comfortable while interacting with each other. This will encourage patients to ask questions about their medical condition and track progress of their recovery. A healthy and informed interaction between patients and caregivers will reduce unnecessary myths (about medical conditions) and establish trust and confidence towards the hospital.

2. Identifying risks

In any organization, risk management, is an important process that helps to identify potential risks and reduce their effect. In case of patient safety, it is very important for hospital staff to work closely and monitor their patients’ recovery. By identifying risks before hand, you can avoid unwanted complications in patients’ health, thereby providing efficient and safe care. To identify risks, hospitals should collect each and every detail about their patients’ state of health from the time they are admitted. Collecting data and then tracking it helps to improve overall efficiency and it is a good indicator to how the patient is responding to a particular treatment.

3. Improve compliance

Every hospital has some set of rules and standards regarding patient safety. However, often times there are lapses in these rules, from patient’s side or from hospital’s side. The end result is a possible dangerous condition which is harmful for the patient’s health, and possibly for hospital’s reputation. Therefore, improving compliance in hospitals is a great way to improve patient safety. If your hospital has got senior and respected Medical Director such as Daniel Cohen, it becomes easier to setup rules and follow them rigorously.

4. Introduce Safety Culture

A strong culture always creates positive results for any organization. To ensure excellent care and patient safety, hospitals should introduce safety culture and follow it religiously. They should create safety awareness among their entire staff, not just doctors and nurses, but everyone associated with the hospital, be it the security guard or the driver of an ambulance.

The real test for a hospital is when either they are short on staff or all their wards are occupied by patients as a result of some unfortunate event such as earthquake or a stampede. It is during such testing times when top hospital authorities should make an extra effort to monitor whether their safety culture is being followed or not. In case of any deviation from their culture, they should immediately suggest a topic, which need urgent attention. When everything happens through an orderly process, there is little room for error with respect to patient safety.

5. Reducing errors in health care

Professionals who look after patients in hospital are humans and sometimes they too make mistakes. “To err is human” may be true but when it comes to patient safety in hospital, one cannot afford to make even the minutest error because it can result into major consequences.

Most hospitals depend on machines and technology to cure and monitor health of their patients. While this reduces human error to a considerable extent but hospitals should ensure these machines are routinely examined to maintain one hundred percent efficiency because a machine error if gone unnoticed can be difficult to track at a later time.

Conclusion: To sustain patient safety in hospitals and improve quality of care, hospitals should be proactive in creating safety awareness and fostering a culture of safety throughout their organization. Much like the mission of Barts Health NHS Trust, hospitals are ‘changing lives’ from the time a patient is admitted to the time they heal completely. During this period, hospitals should ensure they follow utmost standards for safety of not just patients but of everyone associated with that hospital.

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