Patient safety continues to draw global attention and different hospitals are focused at increasing effective patient safety programs (Spath, 2011). Almost all providers-from doctors, nurses, technicians, to pharmacists- have been in support for various system changes aimed at improving patient safety. Nevertheless, most health care facilities are still ill-equipped to handle patient safety problems owing to the complexity of the issue. According to Wachter (2009), there seems to be uncountable number of possibilities for unresolved patient safety issues. As such, several changes are still needed in our heath care facilities. This paper thus evaluates various solutions that can be utilized in solving the patient safety issues in today’s diverse global environment. The paper will, however, begin by presenting literature view on the issue.
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Patient safety issues continue to draw a lot of concern over the role of health practitioners and professionals in guarding the health of the public (Spath, 2011). Adverse cases of patient safety have been recorded in various health care facilities and outpatient sections. In fact, according to Spath (2011), in the last decade, research by the Institute Of Medicine revealed that thousands of patients were victims of medical errors and more than 100,000 died as a result of medical error related causes. Understanding of medical patient safety issues is considered to have expanded rapidly in the past few years, and various patient safety movements have been involved in promotion of safer healthy care systems (Newman & Pronovost, 2011). Variety of health care procedures including robust accreditation standards and increased error reporting measures have been proposed over the years to increase the heath care facilities’ focus on patient safety (Newman & Pronovost, 2011).
Nevertheless, a few heath care facilities have implemented the proposals and most of them are still grappling to balance patient safety accountability (Wachter, 2009). Various literatures discussed different proposals on efficient patient safety measures. However, due to complexity and diversity of the issue, there seems to be infinite changes that still need to be done. Newman and Pronovost (2011) propose that the initial step to take towards achieving patient safety is an efficient understanding of not only the extent of medical injuries that results from medical errors, but also various theories about the causes of errors and how to prevent them. According to Wachter (2009), exposure to the available resources with respect to understanding the risks, analyzing the various medical errors, and designing effective heath care processes to curb the problem is the way forward. Generally, more research is needed in this area.
Patient safety involves proactive processes aimed at curbing revolving medical errors, mishaps, and miscommunication issues that could impact negatively the health and welfare of patients in a given health care facility (Wachter, 2009). Realization of such a vision requires that health care facilities embrace various patient safety structures:
These ranges from medication and administration safety measures that would ensure right medication safety at various stages that have high medication error potentials (Wachter, 2009); diagnostic safety measures to ensure efficient gathering and interpretation of health care data to support optimal treatment and health care delivery; treatment safety measures to ensure accurate recoding, sharing and execution of health data (Newman & Pronovost, 2011); and environment safety measures which will cover the bigger patient environment from staff management to equipment tracking.
Significantly, it is important to have effective communication strategies to implement the proposed strategies. According to Spath (2011), patient safety can be achieved through efficient sharing of real time and relevant safety information by different health facilities and authorized or interested parties, with more focus on ways of improving hand-off communications. Dissemination of such information will be achieved by publishing of the information (on safety measures) in various medical journals, via various clinicians’ portals, patient care facilities, online patient visits, and web based care solutions among other channels.
In overall, concerns over patient safety issues involve both health care professionals and the general public. However, achieving patient safety goals is still a challenge owing to complexity and diversity of the issue: there seems to be infinite changes that still need to be done. Nevertheless, realization of patient safety vision requires that health care facilities embrace various patient safety structures and excellent communication strategies to implement the proposed structures and strategies. In addition, a lot of research should be done non the issue.
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Newman, D. E, & Pronovost, P. J. Diagnostic errors- the next frontier for patient safety. Journal of American medical association, 307(5), 431-527.
Spath, P. L. (2011). Error reduction in health care: A systems approach to improving patient safety. San Francisco: Jossey Bath.
Wachter, R. M. (2009). Patient safety at ten: Unmistakable progress, troubling gaps. Heath affairs, 29 (1), 165-173.