Estimated read time: 6 minutes
As a public health concern, patient safety should be a top priority for everyone who interacts with the health care system. Patient Safety Awareness Week is an opportunity to further conversations about health care safety and recognize the progress that has already been made.
Research suggests that up to 440,000 Americans die annually from preventable errors, making this the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is critical that health care professionals keep patient safety at the forefront of innovation.
Here are six thought leadership blogs that speak to the important role that data, organizational culture and health IT tools have in elevating patient safety.
Durenda Juergensen, CNO Health System Operations, Cerner
Fatigue is a workplace hazard that affects the health and safety of patients, health care providers and the community. In this blog, Juergensen examines why it is important for health care organizations to recognize the dangers of fatigue. She also offers health care leaders a three-step approach to integrate fatigue management strategies into their patient safety efforts.
“The consequences of fatigue impact everyone along the care journey. A collaborative commitment to increasing fatigue awareness, mitigation and management will improve the health and safety of patients and health care providers.”
Michael Frisina, leadership expert, speaker and expert, The Frisina Group
Health care professionals who are energized, optimistic and connected to the purpose and meaning of their work are more likely to be committed to providing the highest level of patient care. Yet, day-to-day challenges, coupled with ineffective leadership, can discourage even the most passionate providers.
To maintain a successful health care organization with a high standard for excellence, it is essential for leaders to learn how to manage people appropriately. In this Q&A, Frisina explains how health care leaders can develop a workforce culture that promotes engagement and commitment, ultimately leading to greater patient safety, care and overall experience.
“The major challenges that I see in health care today are associated with the quantity, pace and complexity of the workload. Health care professionals are trying to do a lot of work as quickly as possible, but the brain isn’t designed for multitasking. When people try to do more than one thing at a time, mistakes are inevitable, and the quality of care, safety of care and the overall patient experience suffer.”
Christine Beck, RPh, Pharmacy Executive, Cerner
Anesthesiologists need rapid and simple access to medications to care for their highly vulnerable patients. In addition, the opioid epidemic and new regulatory mandates require pharmacies to develop a better chain of custody for narcotics. The move to automation in the OR has potential to increase patient safety, reduce lost patient charges, improve narcotic control and create more efficient workflows. In this blog, Beck explains how automated medication carts provide an opportunity to improve care within operating rooms.
“Automation aids in safety by improving documentation of the medications given to the patient. The issue of drug diversion can also be addressed with the use of these automated monitoring tools as they identify trends and gaps in the system. Narcotics theft may also be deterred with the additional control features, such as single dose narcotic dispensing, that are available on modern carts.”
Craig Deao, managing director, national speaker and author, Studer Group
Although the health care industry is complex and full of potential hazards, a culture of high-reliability – operating for extended periods without serious accidents or catastrophic failures – is a goal for many health care systems. With support from leadership, health care providers on the front lines are taking steps toward zero-harm. In this Q&A, Deao discusses the principles of high reliability and why they are critical to enhancing the health care experience for patients and providers.
“The biggest barrier that I see is that many health care organizations still don’t believe that zero-harm is an achievable goal. An organization’s executives must commit to treating harm incidents with the same seriousness that the aviation industry treats a plane crash. Failures and catastrophic events must be learned from so that they never happen again. When harm occurs, everything should stop, and a deep dive should be done to discover the root cause.”
Jenny Horn, senior director and regional clinical executive, Cerner
In the modern health care industry, patient safety is non-negotiable. Patients expect it, clinicians strive to deliver it and health care organizations rely on it. Leveraging smart technologies and dashboards and standardizing practices enables organizations to improve quality, bring down cost and create value-based care. In this blog, Horn outlines how health care organizations can empower nurses by creating a culture of patient safety and implement practices that promote it.
“As a nurse, I strive to provide safe patient care – but I’m at my best when I feel like my organization also emphasizes patient safety. Creating a culture that supports patient safety includes promoting communication and visibility of medical error misses, near misses and successes that can be shared across the organization.”
Eva Karp, senior vice president, chief clinical and patient safety officer, Cerner
Amy Peters, chief nursing officer, Truman Medical Center
Nursing teams often lead the charge in patient quality, safety and the overall patient experience. Technology can help nurses improve care in many ways, including allowing them to be at the bedside more. In this blog, Karp and Peters discuss how health IT empowers nurses to deliver advanced care, with applied examples from Truman Medical Center.
“Our nursing staff have adapted to the new technology very well. There was some hesitation at first, but now they definitely have the hang of things and comment on improved efficiencies and the ability to answer patient questions in the moment without needing to leave the room and pull the information up on the computer.”
Cerner’s EHR solutions enable physicians, nurses and authorized users to share data and streamline processes across an entire organization. Learn more here.