The medical field is one that is devoted to improving the quality of life and restoring good health to those that need it. As healthcare providers try their best to treat each case with care and attention, there are still issues with patient safety that need to be addressed. The following areas are potential safety hazards across the various industries of healthcare.
Outdated or Inaccurate Equipment
With all of the improvement in software and technology, providers have almost limitless options when it comes to improved equipment. Hospitals and clinics have portable diagnosis and treatment tools that can be wheeled to patient rooms through the use of leveling casters. However, when the equipment is not calibrated correctly or hasn’t been updated and maintained, it can jeopardize patient safety. An inaccurate reading can issue a faulty treatment plan.
Healthcare is a career choice that has high job security, but in the same respect, takes a significant toll on those who have devoted their lives to caring for others. The demand for physicians, offices, and support staff can be overwhelming, and facilities where providers are overworked, are most susceptible to errors in care management or diagnosis. These centers would do well to invest in their labor pool and supplemental tools to lighten the workload and give their staff some reprieve.
Although this one of the easiest tasks to master, research is showing the area of handwashing still poses a considerable threat to patient safety. Whether in haste to get the job done or from being fatigued, healthcare providers are relying on the use of sterile gloves or hand sanitizers to establish sanitary conditions for changing wound dressings or other simple tasks. Many healthcare facilities are now directing specific efforts to enforce hand hygiene, with the use of signs and electronic messages acting as reminders.
Supply and Drug Shortages
The epi-pen chaos brought attention to the overcharging and shortages that occur on a consumer level, but hospitals, doctor offices, and clinics also experience shortage with necessary resources. More recently, manufacturing problems led to a shortage in the drugs needed for chemotherapy treatment, creating a delay with some patients suffering from cancer and other conditions. Puerto Rico houses and supplies nearly 10% of the drugs needed by American healthcare groups, and any damages that occur on the island due to hurricanes and severe weather jeopardize import abilities.
As the baby boomers continue to age, there will be an additional demand on the healthcare system. Providers should take extra care in ensuring these areas are addressed as they face the care needs that lie ahead.