As the new year approaches, many will celebrate the holidays and the new year with family, friends and their loved ones. Most likely won’t think about patient safety issues at hospitals unless they themselves or a loved one is directly impacted. Every year hospitals face new and old healthcare challenges, and try to resolve to minimize them for the next year.
Pennsylvania residents may find it interesting to learn that according to a recent report, some of patient safety issues to look out in 2015 are hospital acquired infections. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly one in every 25 patients who stay at a hospital will get a HAI. Healthcare providers implementing simple strategies, such as hand washing, can reduce HAI. Presently, research shows that only 40 percent of healthcare workers wash their hands when they move between patient rooms. Additionally, antibiotic resistance is on the rise, and the CDC notes that nearly two million get bacterial infections and about 23,000 of them will die of the bacterial infection due to antibiotic resistance.
Despite improvements in information technology, medication errors routinely occur and it is estimated by the Institute of Medicine that about 1.5 million patients annually experience the negative effects of medication errors. In addition to medication errors, diagnostic errors – which have the potential of delaying treatment for the patient and resulting in a worsened condition – will continue to be an issue. In fact a 2013 study found that about 8 percent of medical malpractice payout between 2004 and 2010 were due to failure to diagnose.
Our Pennsylvania neighbors will agree that though healthcare facilities have the primary responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their patients, there are undoubtedly times when they fail to do so, and harm to patients can occur. The hope is that through innovative technological solutions, improved communication, patient involvement in their care and simple techniques such as hand washing, medical errors can be reduced. When medical errors do happen, a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer may be able to provide legal advice and evaluate the surrounding circumstances.
Source: Becker’s Hospital Review, “10 top patient safety issues for 2015,” Akanksha Jayanthi, Dec. 10, 2014