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Pennsylvania Taking Steps to Prevent Surgical Errors

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recently released its Annual Report which highlights the effectiveness of its educational offerings and collaborations. These efforts are aimed at preventing medical errors like surgical errors and healthcare-associated infections.

A federal “Partnership for Patients” $1.6 million grant has allowed the Authority to collaborate with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) to address issues around patient safety, specifically focusing on preventing wrong-site surgeries, medication errors and falls.

The Authority also oversees the Patient Safety Liaison (PSL) program which began in 2008. The liaisons are each assigned to 65-100 medical facilities, and regularly meet with patient safety officers to ensure they are aware of the Authority’s resources and educational offerings.

According to the acting chair of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, “Through the PSL program, relationships among competing healthcare facilities have also improved because of the common goal to improve safety in areas such as preventing mislabeling of blood samples and wrong-site surgery.”

In one regional collaboration, comprised of 19 medical facilities, all wrong-site surgeries were eliminated for an entire year. Harmful falls were also reduced by over 30 percent. The Authority is also sponsoring programs to improve the screening and assessment of patients before surgery to decrease surgical-site infections.

The acting director explained that, “The Authority was poised to take the wrong-site surgery and falls collaborations statewide after successful regional efforts in reducing these events.”

Hopefully the Authority’s continued efforts will result in further decreases in surgical errors and overall improvement in patient safety and care.

Source: Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, “Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Issues Annual Report for 2011,” April 30, 2012.

The attorneys at The Colleran Firm handle serious injury cases caused by health care provider negligence and medical malpractice in Pennsylvania & New Jersey.

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