Hospitals get 10 more checklists to keep patients safe

Adding to the growing list of safety checklists, the newly released "Checklists to Improve Patient Safety" focuses on 10 quality improvement areas targeted by the federal government's hospital engagement networks (HEN), Hospitals & Health Networks Daily reported.

Back in December 2011, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services awarded $218 million to 26 hospital organizations to operate HENs and share best practices and lessons learned as they implement various strategies.

The Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET), which developed 10 new checklists, runs the largest HEN that includes about 1,500 hospitals and 31 state hospital associations, H&HN Daily noted.

Its checklists aim to prevent:

  1. Adverse drug events

  2. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections

  3. Central line-associated blood stream infections

  4. Early elective deliveries

  5. Injuries from falls and immobility

  6. Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers

  7. Preventable readmissions

  8. Surgical site infections

  9. Ventilator-associated pneumonias and ventilator-associated events

  10. Venous thromboembolisms

Each checklist identifies the top 10 evidence-based interventions hospitals can implement, as well as tools, detailed steps and process maps for implementing these best practices.

By following the adverse drug events checklist, hospitals would identify "look-alike, sound-alike" medications and create different labels or alternate packaging to reduce errors. Another checklist item involves using alerts to avoid multiple narcotics prescriptions.

The checklist for preventable readmissions advises hospitals to identify and include the primary caregiver in education and discharge planning. Using teach-back to ensure patients and caregivers understand post-discharge instructions is another task to complete.

With the HRET's guide, checklists continue to gain popularity throughout the industry. A 2010 survey found 88.8 percent of hospital quality leaders use checklists to prevent operating room errors. Moreover, preoperative checklists and anesthesia checklists were among 10 patient safety strategies hospitals are "strongly encouraged" to adopt, according to May research headed by RAND Corporation.

For more:
- read the H&HN Daily article
- here's the checklist