Healthcare News & Insights

ECRI’s top 10 patient safety concerns

Keeping patients safe and happy is a priority for all hospitals. And a big part of that entails watching out for issues that may endanger patients. That’s why ECRI Institute created its list of the Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations 2017

The list was compiled from 1.5 million patient safety events reported to ECRI and its partner patient safety organization (PSO). So the events included in the list are actual threats.

While all the concerns on the list won’t apply to your facility, look them over and see which ones do. Knowing what can go wrong, helps hospitals be proactive by identifying potential threats and doing what they can to address patient safety concerns.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the top 10 patient safety concerns:

  1. Information management in EHRs – Thanks to electronic health records (EHRs) providers now how a ton of information to sift through. And while EHRs have helped, they also possess their own potential problems. Users need to be aware of an EHR’s capabilities and report any potential problems.
  2. Unrecognized patient deterioration – Conditions such as stroke and heart attacks have been the focus for many years now, creating improved clinical protocols and public awareness campaigns so patients are identified and treated faster. Now, these protocols need to be applied to other conditions to assess patient risk and get appropriate treatment faster.
  3. Implementation and use of clinical decision support (CDS) – According to Robert Giannini, NHA, CHTS-IM/CP, patient safety analyst and consultant at ECRI, CDS encompasses “tools that we use to ensure the right information is presented at the right time within the workflow.” Hospitals must now monitor effectiveness and appropriateness of CDS so opportunities aren’t missed and clinical workflow isn’t interrupted.
  4. Test result reporting and follow-up – Do your tests trigger the appropriate follow-up? This is something hospitals need to look in to. Policies and procedures should be set up to do so. When providers get too task oriented they lose site of the big picture. Hospitals need to analyze their test result reporting system and monitor its effectiveness in triggering appropriate follow-up.
  5. Antimicrobial stewardship – Misuse and over use of antimicrobials is one of the world’s most pressing health problems. And it’s not going to get better unless hospitals hold their prescribers accountable for adherence to treatment guidelines. Antimicrobial stewardships promote the appropriate use of antimicrobials, reduce resistance to them and decrease the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.
  6. Patient identification – Of the 7,613 events analyzed for ECRI PSO’s Deep Dive: Patient Identification, most were found before any harm was caused. However, not all patients faired the same. Nine percent of the events resulted in patient harm. Patient identification initiatives need to be supported by leaders, and engage clinical and nonclinical staff. Find out if staff feel there are barriers to safe identification at your facility.
  7. Opioid administration and monitoring in acute care – Mistakes happen when medications are administered, and often patients are fine. However, when mistakes happen with opioid administration, they can have catastrophic results. That’s why it’s vital to implement best practices when it comes to patient identification, medication purchasing, labeling dispensing and double checks.
  8. Behavioral health issues in non-behavioral-health settings – In a regular hospital, patients’ behavioral health needs can go unmet. This can result in aggressive behavior. That’s why all staff need to be trained to recognize the early signs of behavioral health needs.
  9. Management of new oral anticoagulants – More awareness of the proper use of anticoagulants is needed. In an analysis of ECRI Institute PSO events involving anticoagulants, almost 34% of events that had a harm score resulted in patient harm. Practices that would help manage this are standardized order sets that specify doses for different medications based on indication, and development of a plan for reversal of anticoagulant therapy and readily accessible reversal agents.
  10. Inadequate organizationC systems or process to improve safety and quality – First off, it’s been proven that there’s a link between error prevention and a culture of safety. Encourage learning rather than blaming. And look at your facility’s processes to see where things could go wrong and how to fix them before they do.


Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.