Top Ways to Improve Quality and Patient Safety

Making the patient feel comfortable is of paramount importance in physician/ dentist – patient relationship. The interaction between that of a doctor and patient is not only sacred but also legally binding in several ways. While ensuring that a patient feels that the environment inside a clinic is welcoming, the doctor should also maintain adequate patient safety and take measures to avoid those dreaded law suits on account of something that is easily preventable by taking a few basic precautions.

Using good hospital design principles: Hospitals have the dual onus of improving a patient’s health and keeping them safe. The two responsibilities are intrinsically related to one another. Patient rooms and bathrooms should be designed to prevent unnecessary falls. The nurse station should be placed centrally to allow ease of access to and from the patient rooms. A major health concern in health care facilities is hospital-acquired infections. Reduce chances of nosocomial infections by providing single bedroom options, air filtration systems, multiple conveniently placed hand washing stations or hand sanitizers placed beside every patient bed. The pharmacy should be well ventilated and regular audits should be made to remove expired medicines. It should also be well lit and calm, to prevent fatal errors which might occur because of distractions while filling or checking prescriptions.

Build better teams: The culture of health care should revolve primarily around patient safety. Inculcation of this culture in your team from day one will not only ensure that patient safety is taken care of, but also improve the overall functionality of your institution. Medical and dental students are already taught the ‘never events’ and this knowledge should be extended to the nurses, hospital management and housekeeping staff. Learning from ‘near miss’ events, logging them on to a centralised dashboard and having regular meetings to decide courses of action to avoid these in future.

Get closer to the patient and focus on what’s right for them: Understanding what particular problems your patient has will enable you to ensure their safety in a personalised manner. In pediatric dentistry, the commonest issue faced by a dentist is aspiration of an endodontic file, so using a rubber dam or parachute string becomes imperative. Check the patient history prior to prescribing any medicines. Hypersensitivity reactions are easily avoidable with meticulous history taking. Avoid tests which are likely to be inconclusive. Keep X-ray exposure to the minimal, take adequate precautions to ensure the same in both steps of taking the radiograph and inferring from it.

Rapid Response System: In case of a medical emergency, your hospital should be adequately stocked with the essential emergency medicines and instruments, and a centralised monitoring/ announcement system. Host regular refresher courses in emergency techniques for your entire staff. Organise drills for fire, firearm, earthquake and hospital related hazards. Ensure that the exit routes are properly visible.

Maintain excellent documentation: Putting a life at risk because of faulty documentation is not just a huge lawsuit staring at your institution, but also morally irresponsible. Have computerised systems to allow quick input of data. Paperwork should be stored carefully, preferably with soft copies available for quick retrieval. Make checklists for important things to be checked for before some procedures. This method has proved successful at multiple acclaimed hospitals in reducing avoidable errors while performing simple procedures such as intubation, catheterisation, tooth extractions, etcetera.

Continuous improvement within the workplace: Foster an accepting atmosphere in your organisation. Some recurring problems involve ambiguity, visibility, autonomy or the lack of it, complexity. Identify the key problems in your setting and reach solutions for the same by encouraging team work and accountability. Hold board meetings and make decisions which show that you take the suggestions of the doctors and staff into account.

Educate patients: Self-medication is an evil which needs to be warded off by a combined effort of doctors and patients. Incorrect information gathered over the internet has been the cause of many episodes of faulty dosage, overdosing and antibiotic resistance. Proper education of patients on using blood thinners, chemotherapeutic medicines and their side effects and other such important drug interactions is an important step in patient safety that is often over-looked.

Author Bio: Joel Cordle is person who is health conscious. He is serious about his health. He likes to be Healthy and fit so always keeps himself updated about the recent health care tips. He likes to write blogs on health technology, patient safety, pediatric dentistry etc.  He is a good advisor and he keeps suggesting people about how one can stay healthy.

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