The most significant patient safety issues of 2015

As patients, physicians and lawmakers look ahead to the issues that will most critically impact patient safety in 2016, it is important to obtain a firm grasp on the issues that most significantly impacted patient safety in 2015. Not only will reviewing these issues give patients, physicians and lawmakers insight into matters that may continue to impact medical care in 2016, reviewing these issues may aid concerned individuals in helping to solve both entrenched and emerging patient safety threats.

Each year, the ECRI Institute compiles a list of the current top 10 most pressing patient safety concerns. Interestingly, five of the concerns that made the 2015 list were not present on the list for 2014. This suggests that emerging safety concerns may be just as pressing as those that are heavily entrenched in the health care system.

At the top of the 2015 list is alarm hazards. The incessant beeping in health care facilities is not noise pollution but critical alarms for health care providers. When alarm policies and practices are inadequately constructed or poorly followed, patients can experience significant dangers. Next on the list are data integrity failures, dealing with patient violence, IV line mix-ups and medication-related care coordination issues.

Rounding out the top ten most pressing patient care issues of 2015 are failures to double-check certain procedures independently, opioid-related matters, improper reprocessing of certain surgical instruments, patient transport matters and medication errors related to specific weights. Evaluating these matters is critical before patients, physicians and lawmakers look ahead to the most pressing patient safety matters of the near future.

Source: Long-Term Living, “A look back at the top 10 patient safety concerns for 2015,” Nicole Stempak, Dec. 24, 2015

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