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Patient Safety – A New Healthcare Discipline

Johns_PatientSafetySign_WEBRecent advancement in the technology has created an immensely complex healthcare system. This complexity brings many challenges for healthcare staff in continuing to keep the patient safe. Every day, more than a million people are treated safely and successfully in the hospitals, but there are times when things can go wrong.

Patient safety includes a gamut of initiatives which includes empowering consumers, engaging patient (and their families) in their own care; healthcare professionals training; health services improvement; and bolstering the health system.

Thousands  of  patients  die  due  to  medical  error  and  improper  treatment  every  year.  The main cause is human factor, medication error, and system failure.

In a recent report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), To Err Is Human, found out that  the  number  of  death  from  medical  errors  in  hospitals  is  more  than  that  by  automobile  accidents.

Indian hospitals are vigorously working on improving the safety conditions in hospitals, fire safety being of utmost importance. Fire  can  be  devastating,  especially  in  a  hospital where  a  large number of people which need to  be  evacuated  may  be vulnerable – immuno compromised, on life support, and incapable of moving on their own. There are special requirements that  must  be  met  with  while  evacuating  such  people in  case  of  fire  emergencies.  But before that – “fires must be prevented”.

National Accreditation Board for Hospital and Healthcare Providers (NABH) has provided a series of guidelines to ensure safety and security to healthcare workers, which encircles the safety of patients. Section 2 in NABH focuses on Facilities Management and Safety (FMS). NABH has incorporated patient safety performance in its standards (Chapter 1, 5 and 6) which focuses on how hazards should be identified within the organization. The hospitals should implement processes for sorting, handling, storage, transporting and disposal of hazardous material. Hospitals need to appoint a safety committee to identify the potential safety and security risks. This committee coordinates development, implementation, and monitoring of the safety plan and policies.

A safety plan and health management system can provide following benefits:

-Fewer injuries, illnesses, and infections
-Reduced costs for workers’ compensation claims and lower health insurance premiums
-Less absenteeism and higher return-to-work rates following injury or illness
-Improved work practices, leading to increased efficiency and greater patient safety and satisfaction. Higher job satisfaction, morale, and employee retention
-Enhanced reputation

Hospitals are finding that the practices they adopt under a management system to improve worker safety help them adopt and reinforce practices that improve patient safety as well. They see the costs from injuries and illnesses to both patients and employees decrease.

Improving patient safety should be among the highest priorities of healthcare leaders and managers. There is a need to create safety culture in the hospitals. This can be done with following initiatives:

-Patient safety improvement activities should be led by committed leadership and supported by dedicated resources.
-A healthcare culture of safety should be an integrated part of individual and organizational philosophy and values that identifies hazards and risk that result from the process of care.
-Healthcare providers should routinely conduct self-assessments, or audits, to identify error-prone or high-risk processes, systems, or settings.
-Safe practices are published and shared by National and International accreditation agencies which should be implemented and practiced by organizations to ensure an error proof process.
-Healthcare providers should educate their Staff , Visitors , Patient and Family

A systematic approach, where health and safety objectives are accomplished in the same way as financial services or quality objectives, will help to achieve a high standard of health and safety performance.

About Faber Jalay Pandya

Faber Jalay Pandya is Director and one of the founding partners of Faber Infinite Consulting, with operations in Asia Pacific, Africa & Middle East. He holds a master’s degree in Marketing Management with his 1st degree being in Engineering.

This article was originally published on Economic Times – ETHealthworld.com. Original link available – here

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