NQF approves safety measures to prevent complications

The National Quality Forum (NQF) yesterday endorsed 14 patient safety measures focused on reducing complications such as medication errors, wrong-site surgery and patient burns, the nonprofit organization announced.

NQF reviewed 27 measures and endorsed 14 of them for at least three years, with ongoing evaluation and updating. It left three patient-safety measures under consideration.

"Preventable errors in healthcare are costing Americans in a number of ways, whether in premiums, lost work time and wages or undue stress and anxiety for patients and families," Detroit's Henry Ford Health System Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer William A. Conway said in a statement. "This measure set will ensure the healthcare community has the right measurement tools to help alleviate these burdens and provide patients with high-quality care."

To keep patients safe from medical complications, hospitals can launch programs that improve physician-nurse communication and teamwork to reduce surgery-related blood clots and infections or achieve physician buy-in for checklists and standardized procedures to prevent wrong-site surgeries.

Patient safety has been in the news a lot lately, with hospitals getting--and disputing--new safety report cards from the Leapfrog Group earlier this month.

Back in April, the NQF endorsed two new measures for all-cause unplanned readmissions, despite provider criticism of using national measures of readmissions as a quality indicator. NQF said those measures account for multiple factors that affect readmissions, including the complexity of the medical condition, effectiveness of inpatient treatment and care transitions, patient adherence to treatment plans and patient health literacy, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

For more information:
- here's the NQF statement