Category Archives for Patient Safety

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5 ways to reduce hospital-acquired infections

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Hospital-acquired infections are a serious issue. Resulting in loss of lives and increased hospital costs, both of which are preventable. These 5 tips may help.

Although the rates of infection have steadily decreased over the past few years, still approximately 75,000 deaths were attributed to hospital-acquired infections in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are measures that can be taken to lower infection rates which are surprisingly easy.

  1. Cut down on red blood cell transfusions.

Red blood cell (RBC) transfusion strategies are a common treatment in the U.S. But, infection rates dropped by 20 percent when hospitals performed them less often.

  1. Educate patients and doctors about hand hygiene

It is the simplest one on the list, and a shock that it even needs to be on here. Yet, a large enough portion of healthcare workers resist the practice that it bears constant reminding.

  1. Embrace the latest technologies

This is a shameless plug because it works. Other industries have adopted information technologies to dramatically improve their quality, Healthcare is no different.

  1. Emphasize teamwork and communication

A study at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that a dedicated and educated housekeeping team reduced room infection by 89% of baseline.

  1. Consider using copper surfaces

A study published in the May 2013 issue of Infection Control and Epidemiology found that copper surfaces reduced the amount of health care-acquired infections by more than half.


Did you know that October 15, is Global Handwashing Day?

I didn’t until I wrote this article. Find out more information by visiting the website.

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4 Great Tips for Any hospital CEO

Risk-quality-management-in-hospitals-happy-doctorHospital CEOs today bare an enormous weight of increasing healthcare quality and performance, while at the same time reducing costs. It is an overwhelming task for even seasoned healthcare executives — one that is made more difficult for many new CEOs who are just starting out and are battling age, and experience gaps.

In an exclusive interview with FierceHealthcare, Nicholas R. Tejeda, CEO of Doctors Hospital of Manteca (Calif.), a 73-bed facility affiliated with the Tenet Healthcare Corporation, talks about his own experience with experience-related perceptions, and offers some excellent leadership advise to hospital executive who find themselves in similar situations.

In the article, Tejeda offers this:

  1. Communication matters: Appearances do count, he said, which means you can’t dress and act young. “You can’t have spikey hair when you are young leader. Don’t act like a kid. It’s the message that matters.” 
  1. Respect the past: Young CEOs need to learn from the past and integrate those lessons into future decisions, he said. “Often people want to dismiss the past and forget the shoulders they are standing on. Ask about the past but don’t lose sight of the fact that you are supposed to translate those decisions to the future journey,” Tejeda said.
  1. But look to the future: “If people see you are doing things that benefit the organization in the long term, it will go a long way and they will begin to trust your decision-making and your willingness to work,” he said. “Don’t just do short-sighted things, like yelling, firing or making immediate cost-saving opportunities.” 
  1. Express curiosity: To overcome negative assumptions that staff will make about you as a young leader, take advantage of some expectations that work in your favor. For example, many staff think of young leaders as full of energy and eager to prove themselves. “If they expect it, allow it to be a tool and allow more experienced employees to implement what they want to do if it makes good business sense,” he said. Once staff see that you will take action and get organizational support for their projects, Tejeda said, even the youngest leader can quickly develop credibility and gain employees’ trust.

Though his comments were in response to issues facing younger executives, this is excellent advice, regardless of age or experience level. Engaging with staff to learn, and build trust is more important now than ever before.

With the number of changes and demands on healthcare facilities from both insurances and government entities, hospital staff is increasingly overwhelmed, and look to their leadership to chart a course through to calmer seas and better patient care. To help get there, CEOs should be willing to look for the insight and experience of their staff.

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NJ court says hospitals can keep internal error reviews private

A recent New Jersey Supreme Court ruling has concluded that hospitals’ internal review reports written after adverse events occur should remain private. But, that doesn’t mean hospitals should not be tracking and reporting adverse events.

Under the ruling, the Valley Hospital of Ridgewood, New Jersey is allowed to keep secret a memo that was written after a roundtable discussion, following events that led to a 2007 malpractice suit alleging a newborn suffered brain damage as a result of negligent care during birth.

In the 4-3 majority ruling, the court said, “[t]he Legislature included in the Patient Safety Act a provision creating an absolute privilege. It reasoned that healthcare professionals and other facility staff are more likely to effectively assess adverse events in a confidential setting, in which an employee need not fear recrimination for disclosing his or her own medical error, or that of a colleague.”

The 2004 Patient safety Act, the Supreme Court was referring to, ensures the confidentiality of healthcare workers in order for them to be more forthcoming when a hospital error is made. Without this provision, hospital staff are less likely to report an adverse event for fear of being held liable. Doctors and nurses should feel they are protected, without the threat of reprisal, to share all information surrounding a bad outcome — allowing for timely and accurate incident reporting.

Timely and accurate incident reporting is essential to improving patient care by identifying adverse event trends due to bad practices, poor planning, or insufficient training. A study from the Journal of Patient Safety calculated the annual toll of preventable deaths due to medical errors in hospitals at as many as 440,000. The finding did not include tens of thousands more who die outside of hospitals from medical mistakes such as drug or diagnostic errors.

It can easily be argued that, in a hospital environment conducive to efficient incident reporting — where all staff feel secure to participate in a culture of quality — and with a robust, integrated Risk, Quality and Performance Improvement program, a large number of those 1,000 deaths per day are preventable.

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Thank You!

Celebrate Healthcare Quality Week (HQW) with us by letting your Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Professionals know you appreciate them.


nurse-looking-at-happy-patient-healthcare-quality-softwareOctober 19-25 is National Healthcare Quality Week, that time when we acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Quality staff all across the country. During the hustle and bustle of a normal day at any hospital, the efforts of these faithful folks can be easily overlooked. But, behind the scenes, these unsung heroes help to keep patients safe, and strive to continually improve the quality of care hospitals and healthcare organizations provide.

The National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) has provided some materials to help you host your own celebration of HQW, including Posters, and customizable templates for Lunch and Learn presentations and Press Releases.


So, for all they do… we at Prista would like to say to all of the Quality Professionals out there, “Thank You!” and we encourage you all to do the same.

For additional information on HQW visit the NAHQ website.


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ActionCue subscribers are so amazed by the results they are talking about it. To find out how much easier Quality and Patient Safety can be get a demo of the healthcare industry’s leading patient safety software today.

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