The Patient Safety Movement

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 547
  • Published : July 12, 2014
Open Document
Text Preview

The Patient Safety Movement

Florida Institute of Technology


According to patientsafetymovement.org (2013), over 200,000 patients die each year due to preventable causes. This is more than the number of deaths from lung, breast and prostate cancer combined. With such a high number of patients at risk of preventable death, the idea of patient safety moved to the forefront of medical discussions in the early 1990’s with the release of the Institute of Medicine’s report To Err is Human. The report brought to light the issues of patient safety and the errors occurring every day in medical facilities across the country. Patient safety as defined by the Institute of Medicine is simply stated as having “freedom from accidental injury” (ahrq.gov). Patient safety is now considered a healthcare discipline concerned with reporting, preventing and analyzing adverse events in an effort to reduce or eliminate errors leading to undesirable patient outcomes. Some of the most common medical errors affecting patient safety are wrong site surgery, medication errors, and health care acquired infections. Other causes of medical errors are not directly related to “touching” the patient. These errors include hand-off communications, illegible handwriting, and poor coordination of care. Wrong site surgeries include operating on the wrong part of the body, performing the wrong operation, or operating on the wrong patient. While wrong site surgery is rare, (from 1995-2010, the Joint Commission received reports of 956 wrong site surgeries), it is probably one of the most preventable injuries affecting patient safety (National Patient Safety Foundation, 2014). Medication errors occur if a patient receives the wrong medication or if the patient receives the right medication in the wrong dose or wrong form. One of the most common errors facing the patient safety movement today, the Institute of Medicine estimates medication errors affect over 1.5 million Americans each year (NPSF, 2014). Health care acquired infections are infections occurring in patients while being treated for other medical conditions. These infections can be acquired while being treated in or out of a hospital setting. Each year in the United States, approximately 1 in 20 patients contract a health care acquired infection. Errors in patient hand-off communications account for an estimated 80 percent of serious medical errors (patientsafetymovement.org, 2014). A lack of effective communication is responsible for these avoidable adverse events. Illegible handwriting leads to the misinterpretation of physician orders and has led to medication and treatment errors. Patients are at risk for error whenever more than one healthcare provider is involved in their care. Not all providers may have had access to the same information and this lack of coordination of care can result in medical error. In order to develop a patient safety culture in healthcare institutions across the country, several groups were created or formed to outline new patient safety initiatives as well as define the actions both providers and patients can take to prevent medical injuries due to preventable errors. One such group, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, (AHRQ), “is a home to research centers that specialize in major areas of healthcare research such as quality improvement and patient safety . . . and delivery systems (Pozgar, 2012, p. 541). The AHRQ is charged with the following initiatives: 1. Identify the causes of preventable health care errors and patient injury in health care delivery. 2. Develop, demonstrate, and evaluate strategies for reducing errors and improving patient safety. 3. Disseminate such effective strategies throughout the health care industry.

As the AHRQ works to meet its initiatives, other groups such as the National Patient Safety Foundation establish action plans to address the challenge of eliminating medical errors. For example, in 2013,...
tracking img