Healthcare News & Insights

6 patient safety issues your hospital must address

Keeping patients safe while they’re in your facility is the ultimate goal for any hospital executive. If patients are willing to trust you with their care, repaying that trust by ensuring they stay as healthy as possible is essential. But there are perennial obstacles to patient safety, ones that your organization should be addressing – before it’s too late. 

Along with making sure patients stay healthy, there’s another major reason to emphasize patient safety: the financial benefit.

According to a new study from consultant Frost and Sullivan, adverse patient safety events in the U.S. and Europe will create a $383.7 billion cost burden over the next four years.

Key safety concerns

Of the adverse events analyzed in the study, six stand out as areas that have the most opportunity for improvement.

  1. Patient diagnostics safety: Improper diagnosis of acute conditions is the single biggest problem impacting patient safety, according to the study. In addition to improper diagnosis, there are associated diagnostic risks related to timely reporting of test results and specimen loss.
  2. Medication safety: Innovative medication management solutions are prevalent in health care, but more hospitals should be using them. For example, house calls from providers or pharmacists can help improve medication adherence and reduce readmissions.
  3. Antibiotic resistance: Resistance to common antibiotics (which contributes to the creation of superbugs) can be a major roadblock for patient safety. As a result, developing preventive solutions, including antibiotic stewardship programs, needs to be a priority.
  4. Sepsis: Sepsis rates are particularly high in hospitals, and the illness should be a significant concern for any healthcare organization. Because of the high incidence rate, hospitals should take advantage of all opportunities for improving outcomes, including therapeutic patient monitoring or surveillance solutions.
  5. Cybersecurity of medical devices and patient data privacy: It’s likely that most hospitals will experience a data breach, and cybersecurity is top-of-mind for many facilities. New technologies like blockchain (which uses cryptography to secure data) and other security measures can protect your hospital’s devices from hackers and cyberattacks.
  6. Unnecessary emergency department (ED) admissions: Patients are getting older, and they’re coming to the hospital with more acute (and chronic) conditions. Hospitals need to focus on alternative care strategies to ensure excess pressure isn’t placed on EDs that can’t handle the strain. Some tech-based options include sensor-based home health devices and wearable technologies to monitor health.

Next steps

Thinking about all the possible patient safety issues that may impact your hospital can be overwhelming. However, it’s still essential to keep track of new developments in technology and health care that can ease the burden, and promote a culture of embracing innovation at your hospital.

Being open to new ideas and models of care will ensure your organization is at the forefront of patient safety and care.

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