Important patient safety documents released

Over the past few weeks, several important documents related to patient safety in America have been released. These documents should help to give lawmakers, medical professionals and the public a clearer sense of which patient safety issues remain pressing. Unfortunately, the most recent documentation released indicates that many patient safety issues still need to be urgently addressed.

First, the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations. The authors of the report noted that “Many of the recommendations in this compendium have seen some progress. However, as of March 2015, the date of publication, OIG had reason to believe that more should be achieved." This comment clearly illustrates that patient safety efforts are lagging behind the pace that the federal government initially expected that they would.

The OIG report focuses particular attention on the prevalence of adverse events in patient care. The report indicates that, “Many adverse events that were identified through OIG work were preventable. This finding confirms the need and opportunity for hospitals to significantly reduce the incidence of events, and AHRQ and CMS share the responsibility for addressing this issue."

In addition, the Joint Commission released Sentinel Event Alert No. 54. This document deals specifically with the safe utilization of health information technology. This alert focuses primarily on the ways in which miscommunication or the entering of incorrect information into health technology can have adverse effects on patients. According to the Joint Commission, far too many technology-related mistakes are being made and are causing patients harm.

Source: Healthcare IT News, “Patient safety takes one-two punch,” Bernie Monegain, April 2, 2015



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