The Two Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Patient Safety

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Patient safety is an essential part of the healthcare landscape, and perhaps more than any other aspect of healthcare, it involves endless moving parts.  The time that a patient and their physician/nurse/caretaker spend together is the most visible, but many other elements contribute to the success of that encounter and the patient’s experience overall.  Ensuring patient safety over the long term requires a commitment to continuing compliance that includes both a daily view of tasks and a longer view of future plans.


In their 2018 data report, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a government organization that tracks Patient Safety in the US, identified the factors holding healthcare facilities back from excelling in the field of Patient Safety.  The top two? A punitive response to error and handoffs & transitions. Let’s break these down:


A Punitive Response to Error

Humans make mistakes.  This may seem like a bug in our system, but it can often be a feature.  We are learning machines, and while it would be amazing (or maybe terrifying) to be born with all the world’s knowledge crammed into our heads, we are all required to learn as we go.  In a changing world, some of that learning requires mistakes. And while not every mistake can result in penicillin, every mistake provides an opportunity to learn.


The downside is when we focus on punishment, rather than accountability, to cement the learning process.  It’s important to track mistakes, and learn whatever we can from them - the who, what, where, when, and why of a situation can give us valuable information for improvement.  But employees report that when event reports are held against them or added to their personal file, it makes them less likely to report an event - shutting us off from an important learning opportunity.  


This is why we advocate for a system that allows you to track and report on responsibility and results, without tying an event report to a punitive event.  Submitting an escalation or report should be easy and straightforward, and your reporting system should be equipped with reminders and fail-safes to catch those small mistakes before they become big mistakes.  


Handoffs & Transitions

As any healthcare provider knows, the frantic pace and long hours at any facility can open the door to error.  Of those surveyed by the AHRQ, 52% of respondents said that information is sometimes lost during transfers and shift changes.  It’s not surprising - we can’t expect someone to come in to work and know instinctively what has been done, what’s on deck, and what complications may have presented themselves on an earlier shift.

 

This is one of the reasons we’re so excited about the continued leaps forward in mobile and automation technology at Indigo Interactive, and why we believe mobile responsiveness and real-time updates should be a core feature of your compliance software.  This helps to remove the barriers that cause miscommunication and speed up the catch-up process when you arrive on site. When a new shift worker arrives, they should be able to see at a glance what their safety compliance tasks are for the day - and what has been left undone.  


The Future of Patient Safety

Tracking your Safety Compliance should be easy, straightforward, and provide opportunities for learning and communication.  Here at Indigo Interactive, we supply the tools to make monitoring your compliance fast, simple, and thorough. When we started developing Loup™, we collaborated with the Kansas University Health System to learn how our responsive, real-time technology can support their safety protocols.  The result is a software tailor-made to address the two most pressing issues in the world of patient safety today.


Want to learn more about how Loup™ can streamline your facility’s safety procedures?  Click here.

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Posted by Lindsey Dorcus