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10 Ways To Improve Patient Safety

When families bring their loved ones to the hospital and other health care facilities, the last thing they want to worry about is patient safety. However, medical errors and other adverse events do happen. In fact, several news agencies named medical errors as the third-leading cause of death in America. Health care providers must restore faith in medical practice safety by addressing the legitimate concerns patients have.

1. Color Coding

Health care providers often attach bands to the hands of patients. More often than not, all bands are the same colors. A better approach involves using color-coordinated wristbands. These wristbands could indicate specific conditions that require special caution, but health care providers can customize them to fit the practice. Consider the following options:

  •         Red: Allergic to latex
  •         Yellow: Allergic to non-latex substances
  •         Purple: Restricted extremity
  •         Blue: Do not resuscitate

2. Proper Sanitation

Hospitals quite often become a breeding ground for illnesses. As patients, professionals and family members move between spaces, they risk the possibility of spreading disease-causing agents. Because of this, proper sanitation protects everyone who visits the hospital. Sanitation efforts should extend beyond just cleaning spaces. People also need proper access to hand sanitizer, soap, clean water and paper towels.

3. Patient Education

When patients are educated about their conditions and the treatments recommended for them, they can become their own best advocates. These patients might more easily recognize discrepancies in treatment received. They might also identify side effects not mentioned by the doctor. Otherwise, patients might suffer in silence and believe it is all part of the process. To educate patients, health care providers need to hire patient professionals with good bedside manners.

4. Data Access

Another way to educate patients is to provide the information for them to review. When patients have access to their information, they can dig into the details of their conditions and treatments without needing a heavy time investment from health care providers. Having the information in writing can also make it even easier for the patient to spot discrepancies, such as when the file does not belong to them at all.

5. Family Involvement

If your patient is incapacitated, family members become the ones in need of education. Ensure the person making the decisions understands what is wrong and the course of action for resolving the issue. Even when the patient is not incapacitated, family members can provide a second pair of eyes to double-check the information. The fact that they are not the patient might also put them in a position to have a clearer head and more alert mind when reviewing information.

6. Building Design

Health care facilities go through routine renovations to replace the HVAC system or update the building. It’s also important to redesign the building with the workflow process and patients’ needs in mind. For example, it might be better for long-term patients to be on the side of the hospital with windows and a view, if it has one. Similarly, people being treated for compromised immune systems should be as far away as possible from patients being treated for contagious diseases.

7. Human Resources

One of the top reasons health care providers make mistakes is because they are overworked, stressed and exhausted. Health care providers should focus on ensuring they hire an adequate number of workers, so they can limit shift durations. This should be true for not just nurses but also doctors, the front desk and janitorial team. 

  1. Worker Training

Medical professionals receive years of training and might bring decades of experience to the table. Even so, things work differently across locations, fields and facilities. Provide adequate training to keep everyone on top of their game. If finding the time to train is difficult, consider automating the process with online training or providing time off for workshop attendance.

9. Data Protection

One area workers need adequate training in is HIPAA. Customer information safety is crucial to protecting not just the patient but the organization. Failure to protect patients’ data could lead to expensive lawsuits, bad publicity and fines. It could also cause reputational harm and embarrassment to the patient.

10. Go Digital

Technology can have the same benefits on productivity and human error in health care that it does in other fields. It can help health care providers streamline processes, reduce human error, improve data accessibility for patients and automate the booking process. Moving away from physical paperwork can also save time and space. To add to this, electronic filing reduces duplication and makes information immediately available to authorized persons.

We believe health care providers can harness the power of technology to better protect patients. This covers not just medical practice safety, but also customer information safety. PracticeForces is compatible with any specialization. We have been helping health care providers streamline their workflows since 2003. Contact us today for information on how we can do the same for you.

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