ECRI's top 10 patient safety dangers for 2017

Providers should be aware of these 10 patient safety dangers in 2017.

ECRI Institute has identified its 10 greatest patient safety dangers for 2017. Among them: antibiotic stewardship and identification errors.

The list is compiled each year to help providers identify areas for improvement and innovation. The ECRI report also includes strategies that hospitals and other providers can use to address these concerns in their own facilities.

"The 10 patient safety concerns listed in our report are very real," Catherine Pusey, R.N., the associate director of ECRI Institute’s patient safety organization said in announcement. "They are causing harm—often serious harm—to real people."

RELATED: EHR management tops ECRI’s list of patient safety concerns

The full list includes, in order:

  1. Information management in EHRs
  2. Unrecognized patient deterioration
  3. Implementation and use of clinical decision support (CDS)
  4. Test result reporting and follow-up
  5. Antimicrobial stewardship
  6. Patient identification
  7. Opioid administration and monitoring in acute care
  8. Behavioral health issues in non-behavioral health settings
  9. Management of new oral anticoagulants
  10. Inadequate organization systems or process to improve safety and quality

RELATED: HIMSS 2017: ECRI, Bon Secours on the future of health information technology to support patient safety

Possible solutions

Patient deterioration can be deadly when not properly monitored, but ECRI notes in the report that organizations can adapt protocols used for stroke patients to patients with other illnesses to better manage their conditions. Simulations can also offer practice in recognizing the signs of deterioration, and providers can develop tools, like early recognition criteria, to help doctors monitor patient conditions better.

Medication options are becoming more limited, both through scarcity and lack of effectiveness, according to the report, so it's essential that organizations embrace antibiotic stewardship. If providers don't tackle prescription protocols, "more patients will die of infection," ECRI concluded. The report recommends that organizations educate patients and the general public about antibiotic stewardship, and make use of physician advocates who can lobby their peers for more effective prescribing practices.

Providers also need to prioritize patient identification practices, as mistakes in that area can be deadly. The report recommends providers standardize electronic identification tools and wristbands. Barcode systems are also effective strategies.

Also of concern: unrecognized behavioral health issues. Providers may be too reactive, instead of proactive, when dealing with these concerns, so comprehensive assessments are necessary, according to ECRI. Healthcare organizations should also consider developing behavioral health response teams to handle patients with these conditions.