Safer patients mean safer hospital workers

The industry saw significant quality and safety improvements during the past two decades, and that increased focus on patient safety has made healthcare facilities safer for their employees too, according a new report from consulting firm Aon Risk Solutions.

"The patient and worker safety programs share a lot of the same characteristics. So if your environment is safer for your patients, it is inherently safer for your workers," Martha Bronson Posey, senior consultant and actuary with Aon's Actuarial & Analytics group, told HealthLeaders Media.

That can can boost hospitals' bottom lines. As hospitals and healthcare systems take a greater role in promoting patient safety, they will see workers' compensation claims continue to decrease, with loss rates increasing at a 1 percent annual rate, according to the report.

In particular, the use of new technology, such as patient-lifting devices, has helped enhance healthcare worker safety. Lifting injuries and patient-handling injuries are the top concerns for healthcare risk managers, the report noted.

"Some lifting injuries and patient handling injuries can be more costly than some of the injuries you see in the construction and manufacturing industries," Posey told HealthLeaders.

But despite patient handling risks, workers don't always use lifting devices, the report revealed.

For more:
- here's the Aon statement and report
- read the HealthLeaders article