Healthcare News & Insights

4 tactics to decrease medical errors in your hospital this year

Hospitals should still be taking steps to reduce preventable medical errors in 2017. If not caught early enough, medical errors can cause serious harm to patients. These mistakes can often be avoided by closing any gaps that could cause them to occur undetected. 

Thousands of patients are affected by medical errors each year, and many even end up dying because of them. That’s why it’s crucial for your facility to constantly work on lowering error rates.

Controlling error rates

To help your hospital experience fewer errors this year, here are four strategies that can cut down on medical errors, as stated in an article from Managed Healthcare Executive:

  1. Take a closer look at vulnerable populations. Although medical errors can affect patients from all walks of life, research shows that certain types of patients are more likely to suffer complications due to a medical mistake. Make sure your staff is closely monitoring patients in isolation, patients with limited English proficiency and patients with low health literacy. Also in danger are patients who see health professionals more often than average, because they have more chances of experiencing a medical error. This includes patients with at least one chronic disease and those who are taking five or more medications.
  2. Promote better collaboration among the care team. Improving teamwork is essential to lowering rates of medical errors. All clinical staff and providers must work together along the patient care chain to ensure accuracy and boost quality of care. While it’s common to boost communication by improving handoff conversations, other tactics can also be beneficial. Example – Many hospitals are decreasing medication errors by giving pharmacists a more integral role in patient care, allowing them to work directly in various patient wards instead of keeping them in a separate area.
  3. Make patients engaged in their own safety. It’s never a patient’s job to spot a medical error. But by giving them all the information they need about their health care, using clear language they can understand, clinical staff can empower patients to be better advocates for their own health. And that makes it easier for them to notice whether something’s amiss with their medication or treatment, so they can bring any issues to providers’ attention right away.
  4. Encourage staff to be honest and transparent about errors. For a hospital to truly get a handle on preventing medical errors, it needs to have a culture where doctors, nurses and other staff aren’t afraid to speak out when they notice a problem. If clinical staff fear they may be disciplined if they report an error, they’ll never bring up their concerns. Hospitals can make reporting errors easier for staff by using them as learning tools and providing staff with simple ways to report mistakes right as they happen.

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