One of the most tragic occurrences that hospitals experience are preventable patient deaths. Unfortunately, as the New York Times recently reported, such tragedies are all too common. Perhaps even more disturbingly, the problems leading to such tragedies are systemic. Until hospital management across the country makes a concerted effort to address the problems that lead to preventable patient deaths, widespread change will not occur. In this article, we will address three of the most commonly implemented solutions to preventable patient death.
- Checklists. The concept seems almost absurdly simple. Yet, as the aforementioned the New York Times article detailed, checklists can make an enormous difference in preventing the lapses in concentration that lead to disaster. After all, doctors and nurses often deal with dozens of patience every single day, and the smallest mistake can sometimes lead to an infection or another serious health problem. The biggest challenge about such checklist is often simply gaining the acceptance needed to implement them effectively. It is their sheer simplicity that often leaves some doctors, nurses, and other health professionals feeling skeptical. However, with education and commitment, such plans can be implemented effectively. Every time a checklist reminds a nurse to change an immobile patient’s position, to control the ventilation system, or to wash his/her hands, the system has made a tangible success.
- Investing in combating infections. One of the clearest risks that hospitals pose to patients is acquired infections: after all, many patients enter with weakened immune systems, and are in turn exposed to a variety of bacteria. A variety of methods–ranging from increased rigor in cleaning equipment to investing in bacteria-resistant construction materials–can make a difference.
- Tracking Systems. A comprehensive tracking system can help improve outcomes indirectly by improving efficiency. In some cases, though, the benefits of a hospital tracking system can be extremely direct. One of the best examples of this is the facility of tracking systems to prevent retained surgical devices–a topic that Facility Team recently covered in-depth.
To learn more about the benefits, costs, and implementation of a hospital tracking system, visit Facility Team online today.