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National Patient Safety Goals: Critical Care Access

Limited access to healthcare services has been on the agenda of the modern healthcare system for quite a long, warranting the status of critical concern. Therefore, creating the Critical Access Hospital Accreditation Program as an inseparable part of the National Patient Safety Goals 2020 project was inevitable and indispensable (The Joint Commission, 2019). The program mentioned above strives to match a patient and the treatment intended for the specified individual without any hindrances or misconceptions occurring during the process (The Joint Commission, 2019). By increasing the efficacy of data management and the accuracy of its transfer, one will cause a decrease in the cases of misidentification and the ensuing misadministration of the required medications or treatments to their intended recipients.

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First Goal: “Use at Least Two Patient Identifiers When Providing Care, Treatment, and Services” (The Joint Commission, 2019, p. 1)

Prevention measures against the cases of misdiagnosing a patient or failing to administer the needed treatment within the set course of time are the issues of critical importance since they determine whether the recovery process occurs at the required pace. Therefore, the first Goal that the Critical Access Hospital Accreditation Program sets seem legitimate as it focuses on eliminating the factors that may cause any confusion: “Use at least two patient identifiers when providing care, treatment, and services” (The Joint Commission, 2019, p. 1). Indeed, the problem of misdiagnosing patients and providing inadequate treatment has been astonishingly frequent in the American healthcare environment, according to the reports submitted recently (Hagger-Johnson et al., 2015).

Notably, the study by Lippi, Chiozza, Mattiuzzi, and Plebani (2017) states that during the experiment that they set, “In 74% of all cases (87% nurses, 49% technicians) the patient was not matched with the identity band and, even more importantly, in 15% of all cases the error was not recognized at the end of the procedure” (p. 107). Therefore, there the statistical evidence pointing graphically at the disturbingly high rate of medication and overall treatment mismanagement in the acute care setting (Chiozza et al., 2017). Thus, the problem that the first Goal of the Critical Access Hospital Accreditation Program seeks to attain is justified by a range of cases that display the need to introduce more rigid control over managing patients’ health-related data carefully. For example, a nurse administrator will have to create a set of guidelines to which nurses will have to adhere rigidly in order to accomplish the established objectives without making any errors in the process. These could include building a clear and concise set of requirements for nurses to perform necessary procedures such as taking blood samples.

Evaluating the Practicality

The described objective seems quite realistic for the contemporary healthcare environment since it does not suggest performing any tremendous changes to the hospital setting or the responsibilities of nurses. However, it would be wrong not to address some of the challenges that the set goal will cause when implemented in the critical care environment. Alterations in the course of actions that nurses will have to take in order to administer the necessary treatment to patients are likely to trigger concerns, objections, and even resistance among the members of the nursing staff. Reluctance to change is one of the significant problems that a nurse administrator has to fight in the hospital setting (Eze, Kuziemsky, & Peyton, 2017).

The alterations in the range, order, and nature of requirements set in the guidelines for administering treatment to patients, in turn, is expected to cause nurses several difficulties and, thus, be viewed as an obstacle to delivering treatment and the relevant services (Fernandes, Burke, & O’Connor, 2017). Therefore, the practicality of the suggested change may be doubted when considering the bureaucratic nature of some modern healthcare institutions and the difficulties that promoting change in behaviors and responsibilities among nurses may cause (Eze et al., 2017). However, the issues of resistance and incompliance can be managed by providing nurses with incentives and encouragements as a tool for assisting them in transitioning to a new workplace routine. Thus, the objective of changing the order and nature of guidelines as the means of reducing errors seems reasonably practical.

Second Goal: “Improving Effectiveness of Communication among Caregivers” (The Joint Commission, 2019, p. 2)

The problem of communication has been brewing for a while in the healthcare setting. Even the introduction of innovative devices for maintaining information sharing has not yielded significant improvements, which shows that extra strategies have to be used to increase the efficacy of communication between caregivers (The Joint Commission, 2019). The failure to convey essential data on time or omitting crucial pieces of information poses a tremendous threat to patients’ well-being and jeopardizes their chances for recovery to a large extent (The Joint Commission, 2019). Therefore, the change that the second Goal of the National Patient Safety Goals and the Access to Critical Care will instill into the healthcare setting will prepare the platform for changes in nurse-to-patient communication.

Evaluating the Practicality

The focus on providing access to critical care is a definitely valuable and essential perspective in contemporary healthcare. The Access to Critical Care program will make it possible for the dialogue between nurses and caregivers to become more consistent and regular, which will allow nurses to administer treatment to patients and educate the target demographic more effectively. Thus, the program is expected to contribute to minimizing the risks of exposure to harmful factors in the clinical setting, as well as reducing the length of hospital stay among inpatients.

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However, while the general direction in which the recent changes have been geared seems quite sensible to undertake, the implementation of some of the guidelines may turn out to be more difficult than expected. For example, the development of uniform instructions based on which nurses will make decisions in the hospital environment may lead to stumbling over several complex challenges. Specifically, nurses have to adjust the existing standards of care to meet patient-specific requirements (Drahnak, Hravnak, Ren, Haines, & Tuite, 2016). Moreover, differences in the staffing levels within hospitals and, consequently, the range of roles and responsibilities that a nurse can play in the clinical setting limit the opportunities for creating homogenous standards of care.

Similarly, the reporting system that will have to be constructed in order to keep all nursing staff members informed will require a range of resources and may be too hard to implement. According to the suggestions provided by the Joint Commission (2019), it will be necessary for caregivers to “report critical results of tests and diagnostic procedures on a timely basis” (p. 2). However, for this purpose, every healthcare facility has to install and run a uniform reporting system that will help all nurses to submit information and access it at all times.

Nevertheless, the EHR system is believed to have a positive effect on the management of reports and information, in general, in the nursing environment. Combined with updated instructions regarding the strategies for administering medication and other healthcare services to patients, the said framework will allow nurses to manage the needs of patients correctly and in a timely manner (Rouleau et al., 2017). In addition, reconsidering the values and ethical principles used for decision-making in the hospital environment will also help to prompt a change in the target environment. As soon as the system within which data will be stored and transmitted safely is developed, other information management processes, such as handoffs, can be updated to incorporate improved communication techniques. Updated communication strategies will also help nurses to educate patients about crucial health issues more actively.


With the help of thoroughly thought-out guidelines for administering healthcare services in the critical care environment as suggested by the Critical Access Hospital Accreditation Program as a part of the National Patient Safety Goals 2020, one will bring down the number of cases involving mismanagement of medication. As a result, the problems of failing to maintain the quality of healthcare and the threats of medical errors will be minimized in the acute care setting. Although the strategies proposed in the National Patient Safety Goals 2020 guide are somewhat generalized, they also offer a straightforward course of action and represent an attempt at creating a uniform set of standards. Thus, the set instructions will be adhered to and met respectively, with the health risk that patients face in the clinical setting being minimized.


Drahnak, D. M., Hravnak, M., Ren, D., Haines, A. J., & Tuite, P. (2016). Scripting nurse communication to improve sepsis care. MedSurg Nursing, 25(4), 233-239.

Eze, B., Kuziemsky, C., & Peyton, L. (2017). A patient identity matching service for cloud-based performance management of community healthcare. Procedia Computer Science, 113, 287-294. Web.

Fernandes, L. M., Burke, J., & O’Connor, M. (2017). Applying innovation to the patient identification challenge. Journal of AHIMA, 88(8), 26-29.

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Hagger-Johnson, G., Harron, K., Fleming, T., Gilbert, R., Goldstein, H., Landy, R., & Parslow, R. C. (2015). Data linkage errors in hospital administrative data when applying a pseudonymization algorithm to pediatric intensive care records. BMJ Open, 5(8), 1162-1178. Web.

Lippi, G., Chiozza, L., Mattiuzzi, C., & Plebani, M. (2017). Patient and sample identification. Out of the maze? Journal of Medical Biochemistry, 36(2), 107-112. Web.

Rouleau, G., Gagnon, M. P., Côté, J., Payne-Gagnon, J., Hudson, E., & Dubois, C. A. (2017). Impact of information and communication technologies on nursing care: Results of an overview of systematic reviews. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(4), 1-21. Web.

The Joint Commission. (2019). National Patient Safety Goals Effective January 2020: Critical Access Hospital Accreditation Program. Web.

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