RSSArchive for April, 2011

Joint Commission and FDA target alarm fatigue

by Matt Phillion, for the AHAP blog, April 22, 2011

The Joint Commission recently told The Boston Globe that it would work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make alarm fatigue a priority.

Alarm fatigue is a concern for many, and it’s no wonder as to why. Our colleagues at the Patient Safety Monitor Journal wrote about the dangers in their March 2011 issue in which Kathryn Pelczarski, director of the applied solutions group at the ECRI Institute, said that a nurse for an ICU might be dealing with 150-400 physiologic alarms per patient per day. A nurse in those units typically has one or two patients, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hear the alarms for all the other patients.

Nurses are hearing hundreds of alarms during their shift, some critical, some less important, with many false alarms, and patient safety is suffering as a result.

The Boston Globe article can be found here; to learn more about Patient Safety Monitor Journal, click here.

Click here to visit the AHAP blog.

Patient experience undefined, but a top priority

A new study by the Beryl Institute, an organization that promotes better patient experiences within the healthcare system, finds that although patient experience is among the top three priorities for hospital executives, patient experience itself is still largely undefined.

The study surveyed more than 790 hospital executives and found that patient experience/patient satisfaction was ranked number two at 21%. Quality/patient safety (31%) was the number one priority, and cost reduction was ranked number three at 9%.

Despite its importance, the majority of hospital executives (73 percent) surveyed said they do not have a formal definition for patient experience. As a result, they are purposefully addressing the issue by examining the state of the patient experience in the nation’s hospitals and identifying the greatest roadblocks to implementing change, with the top three priorities being noise reduction, discharge process and instructions, and patient rounding.

Despite the challenges around the issue of patient experience, nearly 61% felt positive or very positive about their progress in addressing the issue. Forty-two percent of respondents said the most common structure for improving patient experience is a small committee that meets at their facility on a monthly basis.

Hospitals are also turning towards interactive technology to communicate with patients, according to the Beryl Institute’s latest white paper. A study based on six hospitals using technology from San Diego-based Skylight Healthcare Systems, and using scores from industry-standard Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAPS), showed that patient interactive systems has increased patient satisfaction scores by about 10%. Hospital educational materials and courses have increased patient satisfaction by as much as 42%.

Click here to visit the Beryl Institute website and read more information on the patient experience.

Source: Healthcare Finance News

Preceptor perspectives on a just culture

By Julie Harris, MSN, RN

Just culture. This term has been thrown around in the nursing literature for many years. Many nurses, including preceptors, might think that it was started in healthcare. Actually, healthcare borrowed the idea from the aviation industry. After a terrible plane crash, the aviation industry started a program to change and correct pilots’ behaviors.

About 20 something years later, the Institute of Medicine published a report, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” that cited tens of thousands of preventable human deaths per year in United States’ hospitals. This report was a wake-up call to many healthcare leaders. After seeing the success of the aviation industry, many hospitals adapted a similar process and the phrase, “a just culture,” was born.

What does a just culture have to do with me, a preceptor? My answer would be everything. As a preceptor, you are a front line leader. Your peers turn to you for advice, education, and role modeling, especially when it comes to creating and sustaining a just culture in your clinical area. Here are a few points to ponder to determine your fit in a just culture:

  • Do you report near miss events?
  • Do you teach orientees to follow your institution’s policies?
  • Do you proactively report any potential safety hazards?

Over the next several posts, we will examine different aspects of a just culture. We will also explore in-depth a preceptor’s role in creating a just culture. So come along for the just culture ride!

Animated short reminds patients to “Speak Up”

Matt Phillion, for the AHAP blog, April 8, 2011

The Joint Commission’s Speak Up ™ campaign has launched the second in a series of animated shorts aimed at helping patients and their families advocate for safe practices during their care. The latest short targets infection control, specifically hand hygiene.

These shorts are intended to be educational and entertaining, as well as accessible to a wide audience and age range. They can be viewed on The Joint Commission’s YouTube channel.

It is also possible to obtain a downloadable version of the video. For more information, visit The Joint Commission’s web site here.

Thomson Reuters names top 100 U.S. hospitals

Thomson Reuters has announced its annual study naming 100 top U.S. hospitals that have shown it’s possible to walk the fine line that all hospitals are trying to walk in today’s economy—boost patient care and cut costs.

Thomson Reuters researchers evaluated 2,914 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals on their overall organizational performance in 10 key areas: performance in mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average patient stay, expenses, profitability, patient satisfaction, adherence to clinical standards of care, post-discharge mortality, and readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia.

According to researchers, if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in the award-winning facilities:

  • Nearly 116,000 additional patients would survive each year
  • More than 197,000 patient complications would be avoided annually
  • Expense-per-adjusted-discharge would drop by $462
  • The average patient stay would decrease by half a day

Hospitals that made the list include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Fairview Hospital, Cleveland; Blanchard Valley Hospital, Findlay, OH; Sutter Davis Hospital, Davis, CA; and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.

Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, along with five other hospitals on the list, also won the Everest Award for the greatest rate of improvement over five years.

Click here to see the full list.

Source: Thomson Reuters