Top 10 patient safety concerns for 2017 published

Monday March 13 2017

A list of the top ten patient safety concerns for 2017 has been published by the ECRI Institute, with concerns surrounding the implementation of sharps safety legislation featuring tenth on the list.

Inadequate organization systems and processes to improve safety and quality were ranked as the tenth biggest patient safety worry for the remainder of this year, with this covering aspects of healthcare such as needlestick safety, as well as general health and safety standards in hospitals.

However, the top concern for the year ahead related to information management, particularly where electronic health records are being used.

Lorraine B Possanza, a program director at the ECRI Institute, stated: "Health information needs to be clear, accurate, up-to-date, readily available and easily accessible."

The second biggest concern on the list was unrecognized patient deterioration, followed by the implementation and use of clinical decision support. Meanwhile, test result reporting and follow-up came in fourth place, with antimicrobial stewardship in fifth.

Sixth place was given to patient identification, with errors in this area potentially proving fatal, for example if an individual is given the wrong medication containing a substance they are allergic to.

In seventh place was opioid administration and monitoring in acute care, while the eighth biggest patient safety concern was behavioral issues in non-behavioral health settings.

Ninth on the list was the management of new oral anticoagulants, with the tenth and final place going to the implementation of safety procedures.

Failure to follow sharps safety procedures could lead to an increase in the risk of blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis C being transmitted from person to person, which could put patients' lives at serious risk.

However, one way that healthcare authorities could commit to erasing the concerns surrounding the tenth point on the ECRI Institute's list could be to invest in specialist needle safety devices in order to protect patients from this potential harm.

In conclusion, Catherine Pusey, associate director of the ECRI Institute, commented: "The ten patient concerns listed in our report are very real. They are causing harm - often serious harm - to real people."

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