The absence of proper medical care that lead to the deaths of thousands of patients admitted in US hospitals every year presents an alarming statistic on the inefficiencies of hospitals in the US. A past study conducted by the Journal of Patient Safety in the years between 2008 and 2011 highlight the disturbing trend of a minimum of more than 200,000 and up to nearly 450,000 patient deaths.
This finding has put improper medical care as the third biggest contributor for deaths in US and places hospitals in great pressure in ensuring best practices and quality management to ensure such preventable deaths do not occur.
Here are five ways employers can utilize to ensure patient safety in hospitals.
Cultivate a Culture That Ensures Patient Safety
One of the first steps in ensuring patient safety in the workplace is to create a culture centered on being transparent and open to patients. This means that a staff are inculcated with a culture that demands being safety conscious and always internalizing and evaluating the risks and taking precautions of their healthcare activities.
Just like a company pursues changing the norms and practices of its workforce to influence a particular culture, the same is true for hospital management. Therefore senior management should implement various activities to ensure there is a culture of shared information between patients, managers, and staff and conducting various assessments to analyze what working patterns or activities contribute to various hazards.
Build Strong Staff-Patient Relationships
Building strong relationships with patients involve having effective two-sided communication and taking responsibility when things go wrong. Any case of accidents on the part of staff should be investigated and discussed with the patient and his or her families. A formal apology for instance can contribute in making amends and facilitate better healthcare learning.
Build Effective Staff Leadership
Another crucial step is to provide strong leadership that ensures that employees are motivated and accountable for their actions whilst at the same time sufficient space is given to them to respond with frankness why they feel certain activities or job responsibilities are ineffectual and possible causes of patient mishandling.
Another way of establishing this pillar is to appoint a specific manager responsible for overseeing safety and risks and have a reporting and evaluation mechanism. This will help to supplement a more conscious attitude for ensuring safety and preventing any accidents. Appointing a manager can also serve staff training purposes.
Incorporate Processes to Manage Risk
This involves evaluating the procedures and mechanisms that pave the way for creating high risk situations and replacing them with best practices. This could involve taking a particular look at the hierarchical structure and whether staff overloading or the lack of it is leading to work inefficiencies.
It could also consist of consulting with risk-experts who can help you identify what conditions or systems currently in place are wreaking havoc for the hospital and for the patient especially.
Gather Data in Pinpointing Hazards
A critical aspect in developing a patient safety culture is to implement rigorous methods for collecting accurate data and implement critical analysis to facilitate understanding of what went wrong and how not to repeat it in the future. Some of these data collecting methods could involve conducting wide-scale interviews of doctors or other staff consisting of a series of questions aimed to get at the root cause of unexpected deaths or accidents.
Alternatively, a risk and safety team could be developed to conduct site visits and assess the conditions of the ward and what equipments contributed to the deaths of patients.
Developing a culture that promises safety to patients requires an in-depth assessment the physical as well as non-physical factors and consists of a series of best practices, routines and systems put in place to ensure patients are given care professionally.