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Quality & Patient Safety

Quality & Patient Safety

The quality/patient safety department assists hospitals with meeting The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals, addressing CMS patient safety-related regulations, ensuring patient satisfaction, and improving the overall quality of care.

Quality & Patient Safety Headlines

Top Stories

  • Using patient engagement to reduce diagnostic errors

    Drawing information from patients can help boost understanding of why diagnostic errors happen and reduce the risk of future errors, according to new research. Diagnostic errors are a serious patient safety problem, impacting about 12 million adult outpatients each year and causing as many as 17% of adverse events for hospitalized patients.

    “Health systems should develop and implement formal programs to collect patients’ experiences with the diagnostic process and use these data to promote an organizational culture that strives to reduce harm from diagnostic error,” researchers wrote in an article published today in the journal Health Affairs.

    The research features an examination of 184 narratives from patients or family members about diagnostic errors collected in a new database maintained by the Empowered Patient Coalition.

  • Brace yourself, winter is coming

    What do you see outside your window? If you’re in many parts of the U.S., you might see a blanket of white. And even if the snow hasn’t started falling yet, it’s a safe bet that it will soon.

    Most areas, and hospital facilities, are ready for the typical snowstorm. But are you ready for a truly bad snowstorm that can leave a region crippled for days, or even weeks at a time?

    All you have to do is ask folks in places like Buffalo, New York, which was hit with 7 feet of snow in just one storm in November 2014. That same monster storm also blanketed most of the Central U.S. and New England over a six-day period, with amounts reaching record levels in many places. In many cities such as Boston and New York, services ground to a halt, and many citizens found themselves stranded.
    Of course, a hospital generally can’t just shut down—at least not without moving or otherwise taking care of its patients.

    CMS, The Joint Commission, and other accrediting organizations already require you to have a plan in place to prepare for “all hazards” and emergencies. The plans are meant to prepare for the disruption of hospital services on a mass scale, such as that experienced during disasters such as the California wildfires, New York City during Hurricane Sandy, and Houston during Hurricane Harvey.

  • Review policies, environment as assaults against ER staff rise

    Violence against ER physicians is pervasive and increasing, research released this October shows.

    In a survey conducted for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), a majority of the 3,539 doctors polled said they had been the victims of workplace violence recently. About 62% of ER physicians reported being assaulted in the past year, with 24% saying they had been assaulted two to five times.

    “The main point is this is a problem that is real, it is increasing, and unfortunately the results of this poll will not surprise any practicing physician,” Vidor Friedman, MD, ACEP president-elect and an ER physician in Florida, said during a press conference October 2.

    The press conference focused on research findings, solutions for violence in ERs, and the impact on patients who witness acts of violence.

  • PEARR: Treating abuse and violence victims, step by step

    Holly Austin Gibbs has been the director of Dignity Health’s Human Trafficking Response Program since 2015. She is also a survivor of child sex trafficking, recovered by law enforcement when she was 14. After her rescue, she was taken to an emergency department for assessment.

    “What I remember most about this experience,” she says, “is that I was left alone in a room—I felt very isolated. The healthcare staff didn’t talk to me. I felt like they were disgusted by me, like I wasn’t worth their time. In reality, the staff probably didn’t know what to say to me.”

    The Dignity Health system, HEAL Trafficking, and the Pacific Survivor Center teamed up to create a tool that could identify and care for victims/survivors of any form of abuse, neglect, or violence, including human trafficking. Together, they published the PEARR Tool, a suite of procedures to guide providers in providing assistance to possible abuse victims.

  • The future of infection prevention

    Healthcare organizations are feeling the repercussions of noncompliance when it comes to infection prevention. For several years now, the most cited clinical standard in hospitals, critical access hospitals, and ambulatory healthcare by The Joint Commission has been:

    IC.02.02.01: The hospital reduces the risk of infections associated with medical equipment, devices, and supplies.

    According to The Joint Commission, the most common reasons for noncompliance include:

    • Not following current, nationally accepted, evidence-based guidelines and manufacturers’ instructions for use
    • Orientation, training, and assessments of staff competency not conducted by an individual qualified to do so
    • Lack of quality assurance process
    • Lack of collaboration with infection prevention professionals
    • No pre-cleaning at point of use
    • Recordkeeping: Incomprehensible or non-standardized logs, incomplete documentation, and lack of bidirectional tracing of scopes and/or surgical instruments
    • Inconsistent processes in performing high-level disinfection and sterilization such as handling, transporting, and cleaning reusable instruments

  • CMS is intensifying focus on Legionella

    A good water management plan begins with your facilities management team and a solid risk assessment of your water distribution and storage systems, which must include a walk-through of your hospital with your on-site plumbing expert.

    CMS recently updated a memo to its survey teams on reducing the risk of Legionella bacteria to specifically note that facilities must have a water management plan that surveyors can review.

Quality & Patient Safety Blogs

The PSO Solutions Blog provides members and others with the latest patient safety news and interpretation. The Peminic-Greeley Patient Safety Organization provides a safe environment where members� patient safety data is securely and confidentially collected, de-identified, aggregated, and reported back to all members.
Read Patient Safety Organization

Patient Safety Monitor Blog features daily news and updates of patient safety regulations and information.
Read Patient Safety Monitor Blog


  • Patient Safety Monitor

    Patient Safety Monitor

    Get cutting-edge best practices and tools to improve your patients’ safety.
    Patient Safety Monitor
    features a fully customizable, Web-based crosswalk that organizes state, CMS, and Joint Commission requirements by topic. It also provides access to news and analysis on dozens of the most challenging patient-safety issues via the monthly journal, the tools and templates library, and the weekly e-newsletter.

    Learn more.