Working as a physician means doing the most to ensure the overall well-being of your patients. In every healthcare facility across the country, there are innumerable variables to consider for optimum patient safety. Lots of physicians strive toward minimizing patient safety risks, although it’s not always cut and dry. While each location demands its own unique approach, that isn’t to say there aren’t general precautions physicians and their team members can take. Here we’ll discuss what you can do to make a better environment for patients and staff:
The last thing you want is for someone to leave your healthcare facility worse than when they arrived. In these cases, it’s often more about what you don’t do than actual decisions made about someone’s care. Throughout the range of healthcare facilities and clinics out there, patient risks vary based on population, a facility’s location, the usual type of patients seeking care, and your staff’s training. There are lots of factors to account for, but some of the main concerns include the following:
Minimizing Patient Safety Risks | 4 Ways
1. Violence Prevention
Healthcare facilities can see almost equal amounts of joy and grief, it’s just a fact of medicine. Most days you never know what to expect, especially in major hospital settings. For facilities situated in areas with high crime rates or grossly underserved communities, the potential for violent patient encounters often increases. At the same time, physicians and staff members in such high-stress environments have the potential to act violently toward one another.
In any case, it’s important to develop or at least become aware of your facility’s workplace violence prevention measures. Mostly, this is likely to include a zero-tolerance policy from the standpoint of both patient and staff encounters. These measures should include most of what you’ll need to consider in terms of potential and unique hazards to all areas of the office environment.
2. Timely Reporting
Minimizing patient safety risks most commonly amounts to diligence in terms of technical documentation. Healthcare can move very quickly at times, especially in serious medical situations. In medical negligence cases, there are many instances where outside test results didn’t receive proper review before subsequent care decisions were made. Failures in timely reporting and diagnosis should not hinder treatments of life-threatening illnesses, however, it’s not an impossibility.
The most of this issue comes down to having the necessary office systems in place so that outside test results are received, reviewed, and communicated to the patient and those treating them.
3. Protection From Falls
One significant area of concern for elderly patients especially is the risk of falling. It can happen in the blink of an eye, but nonetheless a significant danger for some. Maybe older patients are less mobile to begin with or they have been given medications they aren’t used to. Whatever the case, it’s important for staff to make mobility equipment available for high-risk patients with the risk of falling. A common practice is to give these patients brightly colored bands so that staff can take extra care in transferring these individuals or provide adequate supervision. Another important aspect to consider is whether rugs, carpets, and mats stay secured because they represent very common hazards.
4. Clear Communication
So much of minimizing patient safety risks comes down to ensuring that all team members are communicating efficiently. Medical facilities have a million things happening at once, so it’s up to physicians and their teams to cut through the noise. Besides just coordinating treatments, it’s even more important to make sure patients know how to follow through with your recommendations and prescriptions. It’s all about providing clear verbal communication alongside written instructions and information that is simple to read and act on.
An area where clear communication is particularly important is when dealing with medications. Having an up-to-date medication list ensures that you and your team members can recommend next in terms of treatment. Having patients bring their medications along to each visit can be better than just maintaining a written list.
Overall, minimizing patient safety risks means taking into account the unique strengths and weaknesses found in each medical facility. How do you work to keep risks down in your hospital? Let us know in the comments below!