What Steps Do Health Administrators Take to Ensure Patient Safety?
Health administrators play an important role in helping hospitals and other care facilities run smoothly while delivering the best patient care possible. Safety should be the number one priority in every healthcare environment. If you are considering a career as a healthcare administrator, or if you currently work in this role, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your operations are safe as possible.
There are 'nuts and bolts' type things you can do to make your processes and workflow safer for everyone. But there are also creative ways you can engage your staff and patients for constant feedback and communication in regards to areas for improvement.
Here are 10 patient safety tips for hospital and other types of facilities:
1.) Make the rounds as much as possible. Even though your facility may not require hourly check-ins with patients, try to make it possible. The more you communicate with them, the more comfortable they'll feel. And your knowledge of their condition will constantly improve, and it will be easier to fine tune care.
2.) Survey patients. Taking a patient history is essential to care and keeping them safe. However, you can also continue to improve your level of care if you ask for patient feedback. Patients will give you a more objective perspective – one that has been on the receiving end of your care. Find out which procedures worry them the most, and why. And ask what would make them feel more comfortable. You may realize gaps in your systems that you and your staff simply couldn't see.
3.) Keep up with trainings and incentivize employee growth. Having the most well trained staff is your best weapon against safety risks. Help your staff keep up with the latest trainings and resources for improving in their roles. If your facility can incentivize additional certifications, exam taking, and other trainings for ways to improve patient safety, this can greatly improve the patient experience and reduce risks.
4.) Don't over-work residents, nurses, or other members of your staff. I know, this is a tough one. It seems like it's part of the nature of the business to work long hours. But if it doesn't have to be that way, don't let it. Your workers will get more sleep, enjoy their free and family time, which reduces stress, and they will probably commit less errors while they're on the clock. That's a definite plus for patient safety.
5.) Utilize TeamSTEPPS. This acronym stands for Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety. This is an entire toolkit that you and your team can use as a guideline for making sure you are following best practices, as well as responding quickly when improvements can be made. The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture is another survey you should consider giving your staff to access the safety culture in your organization.
6.) Monitor discharges carefully. You will want to help reduce the chances of patients having to come back because preventative measures weren't taken. Whenever someone comes back, try to learn what happened, why, and how it can be avoided in the future.
7.) Tap patient safety organizations for help. Sometimes it takes the eye of a third party to help you see your own mistakes and room for improvement clearly. That's what these organizations are for.
8.) Create educational materials targeted at specific individuals. Make sure children, seniors, adults, men, women, and other segments of patients understand their situation or procedures. Children undergoing a type of treatment might need to be communicated to in a different way than a senior. Make sure you communicate appropriately to the people you're talking to.
9.) Use ultrasound machines to make sure you insert lines correctly. We all know patient harm can occur when lines aren't inserted correctly. Portable ultrasound machines can help solve this problem.
10.) Use preoperative checklists. Yes, a simple checklist can reduce mortality rates. The World Health Organization employed such a checklist, which has become famous for cutting mortality rates and surgical complications.
Do you have other ways to improve patient safety in hospitals? Share your ideas with us!