Hospital leaders: Focus on these areas to improve patient safety

To improve patient safety, healthcare leaders should hone in on four key areas, according to an article in Hospitals & Health Networks.

The four key areas are:

  1. Infection control, including new technologies for cleaning, monitoring disinfection efforts and reminding staff to follow hand-washing protocols.
  2. Avoiding patient falls, including using electronic patient lifts and technology such as bed alarms.
  3. Designing for safety, including bringing equipment into patient rooms instead of the other way around, redesigning medication rooms to reduce errors and decentralizing nurse stations to improve proximity to patients.
  4. Staying up to date with and implementing best practices.

The four areas are often inter-related. For example, infections are often an underlying cause of falls. And good hospital design has been found to prevent or reduce the spread of hospital-acquired infections and improve other clinical outcomes.

Meanwhile, a New York Times blog post detailed several areas of focus to improve safety and reduce preventable harm. In addition to infection control and preventing falls, the article highlights preventing pressure ulcers and blood clots, and early detection of sepsis.

"It's natural to seek to assign blame when harm occurs," the author writes. "But patient safety experts say that medical errors are more a function of faulty systems than faulty people."

To learn more:
- here's the H&HN article
- read the NYT blog post