Everybody knows patient safety is important, but a reminder every once in a while never hurts. This particular reminder comes to us in the form of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s annual Patient Safety Awareness Week, scheduled for March 10–16, 2019. Throughout the week, the non-profit organization hopes that hospital and health system staff open up discussions about patient safety concerns and areas for improvement, in addition to realizing proven successes. Below, please find a few examples of how your organization can participate and two resources from HBI that can help to improve safety.
Ways to Participate
You can see a list of activities that organizations are planning for Patient Safety Awareness Week here. For example, a health system in Rhode Island is putting emphasis on education around patient identification, and a Pennsylvania children’s hospital is conducting hand-washing demonstrations as well as holding events that aim to boost patient engagement.
Additionally, IHI is stressing the importance of patient safety for ambulatory patients. With inpatients remaining under care for a longer period of time, the majority of the focus around patient safety often revolves around this patient population. To address this, IHI plans to offer a free webcast on ambulatory safety with professionals from prominent organizations such as the United States Public Health Service and Stanford Health Care.
Patient Safety Improvement: HBI Resources to Help
Although data recently published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality suggests that occurrences of hospital-acquired conditions have decreased in recent years, there is still room to improve—and we have several resources to help.
If an adverse event occurs, oftentimes a root cause analysis is completed to find out what led to its occurrence and prevent these events from happening again. But what good are these preventive actions if they aren’t shared? To spread awareness throughout an organization regarding a past safety event, a patient safety bulletin can be utilized. This sample bulletin, shared by the VA National Center for Patient Safety for use on our members-only portal, lists descriptions of the event’s contributing factors and actions implemented to minimize its reoccurrence.
To strengthen patient safety and reduce patient harm, instilling a culture of continuous improvement can also be beneficial. Hiring a performance improvement director, penning a quality improvement handbook, and practicing a proven methodology are three foundational pillars that support this culture, as outlined in this HBI toolkit on our members-only portal.
Although healthcare providers never want negative outcomes or harmful experiences for patients, sometimes they do still happen. IHI’s annual Patient Safety Awareness Week is an important reminder that allows the healthcare community to prioritize safety precautions.
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