What is Patient Safety?
The growing complexity of healthcare systems and the resulting increase in patient injury in healthcare institutions gave rise to the medical specialty of patient safety. It tries to prevent and minimize risks, mistakes, and harm to patients during the delivery of healthcare. Continuous improvement based on learning from mistakes and unfavorable circumstances is a tenet of the discipline. Delivering high-quality, vital healthcare services requires a commitment to patient safety. Indeed, there is broad agreement that effective, secure, and person-centered health services should be provided everywhere. Additionally, health services must be prompt, equitable, integrated, and efficient in order to reap the rewards of high-quality medical care. Clear policies, leadership ability, data to drive safety improvements, qualified healthcare workers, and effective patient involvement in their care are all required for the successful implementation of patient safety methods.
Why does patient harm occur?
A developed healthcare system takes into account the fact that human error is increased by the complexity of healthcare environments. For instance, a patient at a hospital may receive the incorrect drug as a result of a mix-up brought on by similar packaging. The prescription in this instance goes through several layers of care, starting with the ward doctor, then to the pharmacy for dispensing, and ultimately to the nurse who gives the patient the incorrect drug. This problem could have been swiftly found and fixed if safeguarding procedures had been in place at the various levels.
The absence of standard operating procedures for storing pharmaceuticals that appear comparable, poor provider-provider communication, a lack of medication administration verification, and patient involvement in their treatment may all have been contributing factors in this case. In the past, if an incident like this occurred, the provider who actively made the mistake (active error) would be held accountable and possibly punished. Unfortunately, this does not take into account the elements of the system that were previously detailed and contributed to the problem. A patient experiences an active error only when several latent errors line up.
It is impossible to expect humans working in challenging, high-stress conditions to perform flawlessly because mistakes happen. Assuming that everyone is capable of perfection will not increase safety. When placed in an environment that is error-proof with well-designed systems, tasks, and procedures, humans are protected from making mistakes. Therefore, concentrating on the system that causes injury is the first step toward reform, and this can only happen in an environment where there is a strong safety culture. This is a culture where the majority of workers share a high level of importance for safety beliefs, values, and attitudes.
Millions of individuals suffer injuries or pass away each year as a result of hazardous and subpar medical care. Numerous medical procedures and risks connected to health care are becoming important obstacles to patient safety and greatly increase the burden of harm from subpar treatment. Here are a few of the patient safety circumstances that are most worrying:
The cost of drug errors has been estimated at US$42 billion yearly globally, making them a primary cause of damage and preventable harm in healthcare systems.
In high-income countries and low- and middle-income countries, respectively, 7 and 10 out of every 100 hospitalized patients contract a healthcare-associated infection.
Up to 25% of patients experience difficulties as a result of unsafe surgical care methods. Every year, over 7 million surgical patients experience serious problems, and 1 million of them pass away during or right after an operation.
A burden of harm estimated at 9.2 million years of life lost to disability and death worldwide is attributed to unsafe injecting practices in healthcare settings, which can spread diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C and constitute a direct threat to patients and healthcare professionals.
In outpatient care settings, 5% of individuals experience diagnostic mistakes, of which more than half have the potential to be seriously harmful. Most people will experience a diagnostic error at some point in their lives.
Patients are at risk of infection transmission and negative transfusion reactions from unsafe transfusion methods. An average frequency of 8.7 serious responses per 100 000 dispersed blood components is revealed by data on adverse transfusion reactions from a group of 21 nations.
Overexposure to radiation and instances of patient and site misidentification are examples of radiation mistakes. According to an analysis of 30 years' worth of data on radiation safety, there are roughly 15 mistakes for every 10,000 treatment sessions.
Often, sepsis is not identified in time to allow a patient to be saved. Over 5 million deaths per year are attributed to these illnesses since they are frequently antibiotic-resistant and can quickly worsen clinical conditions. These infections afflict an estimated 31 million individuals worldwide.
One of the most frequent and avoidable sources of patient suffering, venous thromboembolism accounts for one-third of the problems connected to hospitalization. According to estimates, there are 6 million cases in low- and middle-income countries per year, compared to 3.9 million cases in high-income nations.
Some Key Facts About Patient Safety
- One of the top 10 global causes of mortality and disability is most likely the incidence of adverse outcomes brought on by hazardous care.
- One in ten patients in high-income countries experiences injury while obtaining hospital care, according to estimates. A variety of unfavorable situations, over 50% of which are avoidable, can result in injury.
- Hospitals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) experience 134 million adverse events annually as a result of subpar care, which leads to 2.6 million fatalities.
- According to another study, LMICs account for around two-thirds of all adverse events brought on by subpar care, as well as the years lost to disability and death (referred to as DALYs, or disability-adjusted life years).
- Up to 4 out of 10 patients experience injury when receiving primary and outpatient care globally. Up to 80% of injuries can be avoided. The most harmful mistakes involve medication use, prescription, and diagnosis.
- Adverse occurrences account for 15% of all hospital activity and spending in OECD nations.
- Investing to lessen patient harm can save a lot of money and, more significantly, improve patient outcomes. The engaging patient is an example of prevention; when done well, it can lower the risk of damage by up to 15%.