The nine patient safety solutions are important steps that all health care providers should adhere to as a preventative to ensure patient safety and reduce the instances of medical error. Enforcement of the guidelines are essential toward lowering the instances of medical error.
1. Avoid Confusion with Drug Names
With the potential to mistake drug names due to the availability of both proprietary and generic medications, it is important to take proper procedures to avoid confusion. Other contributing factors that can lead to medication errors include poor handwriting and similarities in packaging along with dosage administration. Recommended actions include careful review of labels and prescription orders along with proper storage of medications.
2. Verify Patient Identification
Prior to providing care and medical intervention, it is important to take the necessary steps to accurately identify a patient to avoid medical errors. Protocols to be enforced to ensure the clear identify of an individual include providing health care providers with a minimum of two identifiers such as the patient’s name and date of birth in addition to using white identification bands.
3. Avoid Gaps in Communication
When a patient is being provided with care in an environment that may include several settings such as emergency treatment followed by rehabilitation, clear communication among the individual departments and health team members is extremely important to avoid medical errors. Measures that can be taken to avoid gaps in communication include enforcing a standard protocol system that is applicable to all health care providers.
4. Ensure Correct Procedure at Correct Body Site
There has been an increase seen with incidents involving patients that have suffered as a result of health care providers not correctly identifying the right procedure for the exact body site. Suggested recommendations include implementing verification standards with all involved staff prior to engaging in the procedure to ensure accuracy and prevent medical errors.
5. Safely Manage Concentrated Electrolyte Solutions
It is important to properly monitor the distribution, labeling, storage and administration of concentrated electrolyte solutions including potassium chloride and saline solutions to avoid potentially harming patients. Recommendations include the support and implementation of proper safety practices along with the enforcement of validated requirements for documentation and storage.
6. Monitor Accuracy of Medications During Care Transitions
Clear communication is very important when a patient is making the transition between different health providers and caregivers. During those times when the patient is being transferred or discharged, it is imperative to provide detailed medication directions to avoid potential medical errors. This includes verifying medications and their dosages to ensure accuracy.
7. Prevent Catheter and Tubing Misconnections
During the process of providing health care services to a patient, there is the potential for misconnections when using tubing, syringes, and catheters to infuse the patient with their prescribed medications. The possibility of medical errors can be prevented by following a protocol that involves double checking all lines and connections for accuracy and correctness.
8. Follow Single Use Protocol for Injection Devices
Reusing medical injection devices such as syringes is a major concern as the potential for the transfer of infection is extremely high. Despite common beliefs that in some cases the practice can be safe, it is a misconception that can lead to infection from blood borne pathogens. Solutions include enforcing one-time usage of injection devices as a standard protocol followed by proper waste management practices.
9. Prevent Infection with Proper Hand Hygiene
Proper hand hygiene is an important step toward preventing the transmission of infection between individuals as well as health care providers and their patients. Preventative steps that can be taken include providing access to a steady supply of water in order to properly cleanse the hands, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and providing informative education programs.
That old adage saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is truly golden. Taking the necessary measures to prevent harm to others should be the goal of all health care providers.
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