Patient safety is an ongoing challenge for the healthcare industry, including EMS professionals.
Despite the increase in sound practices, there are still a high number of injuries to patients.
A recent World Health Organization report stated in high-income countries such as the U.S., statistics show one in every 10 patients who receive hospital care will be inadvertently harmed.
Even worse, the WHO goes on to report that about 50% of those incidents are preventable.
While several reports in the 1990s prompted some much-needed changes in healthcare practices, we still have room to fine tune those practices for improvement. Maintaining consistency in safe practices is one of the best ways to improve the system.
Creating a patient safety culture
If we approach every single patient with safety in mind, we will be less likely to skip important steps.
Some ongoing issues that continue to plague the healthcare community regarding patient safety include:
- Medication errors
- Venous thromboembolism
- Pressure ulcers
- Injuries from falls
- Delayed diagnosis
- Surgical injuries
- Administration errors
All of these can be prevented with improved compliance to implement patient safety processes. We have checks and balances in place to combat these things, but factors such as fatigue and complacency can interfere with those systems as we do our jobs.
If we use the same safe practices for each and every patient — no matter how repetitious and redundant it may be — we can prevent many of these mistakes from occurring.
Our goal at the end of the day is to be patient advocates and protect them from harm. The systems and processes have improved over the years, so now it is up to us to follow the practices that make those systems more effective.