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USA: Amid hospital 'chaos,' stick to standards to improve quality

Every time a mistake is made in a healthcare setting, there can be serious repercussions. Patients may suffer lifetime injuries or even pay the ultimate price for someone else's mistake. Hospitals may wind up paying the price literally — financially and legally — and suffer costly public reputation troubles in the aftermath. 

Increased patient loads combined with the workforce shortage and often decreasing financial resources have created "chaos" in hospitals, said Doug Salvador MD, chief quality officer at Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass. 

Safety watchdog organizations, including The Joint Commission and The Leapfrog Group, have reported the result of that chaos: soaring cases of preventable medical errors. 

The solution, he and several other sources who spoke with Becker's said, is to create standard operating procedures in every department, at every step of the patient journey. These SOPs are more than lists of guidelines; they require strict adherence and limited room for error thanks to built-in cross-check points. And, when instituted properly, they highlight system flaws in real time by creating what Dr. Salvador called "situational awareness." 

Situational awareness, he added, keeps front-line healthcare professionals on top of their safety game. 

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Source: Becker's Healthcare, 9 May 2023


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