Tackle 2023’s emerging patient safety issues proactively by following guidelines to achieve national patient safety goals (NPSGS) in your hospital.
Every year, The Joint Commission, an organization aimed at continuously improving healthcare for the public, releases a list of goals to improve the safety of patients as well as reduce patient harm and safety risks. Accredited organizations address specific areas for improving patient safety, such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This information is collected and outlined by The Joint Commission in easy to read guidelines for quality improvement in hospitals, ambulatory health care, nursing care centers, and other health care facilities to reduce the risk of suicide, medication errors, sentinel events, and any other factors that may lead to patient harm.
This year, The Joint Commission has released a total of 15 sets of guidelines for hospitals, which can be summarized by 7 main national patient safety goals which focus on issues in health care safety, and offer solutions.
The first goal on The Joint Commission’s 2023 list of national patient safety goals is to identify patients correctly. Because wrong-patient errors can occur in virtually any stage of diagnosis and treatment, this goal is aimed at reliably identifying individual patients as the correct person for whom the treatment is intended for, and to correctly match the treatment or service to the right patient.
The recommendation for reducing patient identification errors is to use at least two forms of identification for patients, such as using both their name and date of birth in order to ensure each patient is getting the correct treatment and medication.
The Joint Commission recommends improvements in the effectiveness of communication between caregivers by making sure that critical results of diagnostic procedures and tests are reported to the right staff member/s in a timely and efficient way.
Because critical test and diagnostic procedure results can indicate a life-threatening situation, giving the responsible licensed caregiver these results on time is critical for them to have the ability to provide prompt treatment.
It is recommended to develop written procedures for the management of critical results and diagnostic procedures, to implement these procedures, as well as to evaluate the timeliness of reporting of test and diagnostic procedure results.
Safe Use of Medication
The third goal outlined is to improve the safety of using medications by labeling all medications and their containers including syringes, medicine cups, and basins. Labeling all medications, medication containers, and other solutions is a standard risk-reduction activity which avoids medication errors stemming from unsafe medication management.
The Joint Commission’s recommendations to accomplish this goal successfully are to label medications and solutions that are not immediately administered, label medications or solutions any time they are transferred from the original package to another container, and including all pertinent information about the medication on the label, including but not limited to the medication or solution name, its strength, and its expiration date.
Safe Use of Alarms
Clinical alarm systems are meant to be used to alert hospital staff and caregivers of potential patient problems, but with improper use, they can compromise patient safety. There are multiple factors that influence the danger of misused alarms, such as alarm signals being difficult to detect in some situations, or multiple alarms in use that can desensitize staff so that they cannot recognize the signs when a patient is in danger.
The goal is to make improvements to make sure that caregivers can respond to alarms on medical equipment on time. This should begin with leaders establishing alarm system safety as a hospital priority. The most important alarm systems to manage should also be identified, and policies and procedures for managing identified alarms should be established. Staff and licensed independent practitioners should also be educated about the purpose and proper operation of the alarm systems they are responsible for.
Millions of people acquire infections while receiving treatment, care, and medical services in a healthcare institution, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a consequence, healthcare associated infections (HAIs) have presented themselves as a patient risk affecting all kinds of healthcare institutions.
Objectives associated with this goal are to implement a program that follows established hand hygiene guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and/or the World Health Organization. There should also be goals set for improving compliance with hand hygiene guidelines. By succeeding in accomplishing these goals, compliance with hand hygiene guidelines should show improvement.
Identification of Patient Safety Risks
Patient suicide within a staffed and round-the-clock care setting is a frequent sentinel event reported across healthcare organizations. This is why it is important to accurately identify which individuals are at risk for suicide while under the care of a healthcare facility, or after they are discharged from the hospital in order to protect at-risk individuals.
In psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric units in hospitals, an environmental risk assessment that identifies features in a patients environment that can be used to commit suicide should be conducted. In non-psychiatric units of hospitals, procedures to mitigate the risk of suicide for high-risk patients should be implemented, such as removing objects that can be used to cause harm, or conduct one-on-one monitoring.
All patients being treated for behavioral health conditions should be screened for suicidal ideation using a validated screening tool. For patients who have screened positive for suicidal ideation, hospitals should use an evidence-based process to conduct a suicide assessment. Patients’ overall risk for suicide should also be documented along with a plan to mitigate their risk of suicide. Policies for addressing the care of at-risk patients and for counseling and follow-up care for at-risk patients should also be followed as well as monitored for their effectiveness.
Prevention of Surgical Mistakes
It is critical for hospitals to ensure that the correct surgery is being performed on the correct patient and on the correct place on their body, to mark the correct place where the surgery will be done on the patient’s body, and to pause before the surgery to ensure that no mistakes in pre-operative procedures have been made.
Hospitals should make sure to always conduct proper pre procedure verification where information is gathered and confirmed to ensure that all relevant documents and related information or equipment are in order. Reducing the risk of wrong-site surgery, which should never occur, yet is an ongoing issue in healthcare, can be done by utilizing a consistent marking process throughout the hospital, which is used to prevent errors when there is more than one possible location for a procedure. Lastly, a time-out before the procedure begins is critical in ensuring that the correct patient, surgery sit, and procedure have been identified.