Evolving Your Patient Safety Efforts Around Key Industry Changes

August 31, 2020 RLDatix Marketing

In recent months, the healthcare industry has experienced numerous changes ranging from updates to regulatory requirements to challenges brought on by COVID-19As the industry evolves, healthcare organizations must adapt their patient safety effortsTo assist you in your efforts, we have highlighted recent changes to the US healthcare landscapehow your organization can best adapt your current patient safety initiatives and ways RLDatix can help.  

Impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic 

Over the last few months, healthcare organizations around the world have faced new challenges amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many members of the care team are grappling with feelings of fear, anxiety and isolation. As frontline staff continue to navigate these challenges, it is increasingly important that organizations adapt their patient safety initiatives for the safety of both patients and staff.  

The Patient Safety Movement highlights a few ways that providers can continue to support patient safety efforts, including taking care of frontline staff to support their care efforts for patients. The organization notes that COVID-19 has put added stress on everyone in healthcare, and leadership should develop open lines of communication with frontline staff, so concerns and challenges can be addressed immediately. Some strategies to support staff include virtual support groups, pastoral care and providing education or childcare for staff members’ children. The Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) toolkit helps organizations discover how they can practice empathic and compassionate communication to care for the caregiver while reducing harm and mitigating risk. Organizations can utilize the CANDOR toolkit to support frontline staff as they seek emotional first-aid, a sense of well-being and morale.   

The Patient Safety Movement also notes the importance of organizations embracing ways to continuously improve and support a culture of safety, stating, “Creative, innovative solutions are necessary, implemented within a strategic approach to continuous improvement. The science of human factors tells us that we need to make workflows easy to get right and hard to get wrong, and healthcare systems should be doing everything they can to simplify care processes right now. RLDatix’s suite of solutions equips providers with comprehensive patient safety tools to support safety and healthcare quality initiatives across an organization. With solutions that cover risk management, clinical insights, patient experience and policy management, RLDatix supports healthcare organizations in their efforts to continuously evolve and improve their patient safety initiatives at every level.  

New requirements for maternal patient safety from The Joint Commission  

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the rates of maternal mortality have more than doubled since 1987, reaching a staggering 17.3 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The CDC also estimates that 60% of maternal deathsreviewed in a study, were deemed preventable. In response to these alarming statistics, The Joint Commission has added 13 new elements of performance (EP) that will be included in hospital surveys moving forward. The update went into effect in July 2020. Under these changeswhich cover two of the most prevalent causes of maternal morbidity and mortality, all accredited hospitals that provide obstetric (OB) services are now required to show evidence that they are remaining compliant with these new standards.  

With these new standards in place to help ensure in the safety of maternal patients, healthcare organizations must be equipped with tools thelp them effectively communicate new regulations to staffStandards & Regulations Manager, an RLDatix PolicyStat optional add-on module, allows providers to easily link their policies and procedures to accreditation agencies such as the Joint Commission, CAP, HFAP, DNV, CMS CoPs and others. If an organization is accredited by The Joint Commission, Standards & Regulations Manager sends automated email alerts and notifications to staff regarding the new elements of performance, ultimately supporting compliance across the organization.  

Improvements to patient and worker safety 

The Joint Commission’s “Improving Patient and Worker Safety” guide states that health care is now considered a high hazard and high-risk industry for both patients and workers.” Hazards for patients can include wrong-site surgeries and surgical complications, diagnostic errors, serious medication errors and hospital acquired infections (HAIs). Frontline staff can be exposed to infectious diseases or harmful chemicals, workplace violence and high levels of stress.  

To help mitigate patient safety risks, healthcare can teams implement a safety huddle program which serves as designated time at the beginning of a shift for staff to share and discuss patient safety concerns. Safety huddles can be utilized as a way for organizations to support the safety of patients and frontline staff. As safety issues arise, staff can bring attention to them during a huddle to help mitigate any risk facing patients and other members of the care team.  

RLDatix’s safety huddle module offers organizations a centralized control center for care teams to discuss ongoing safety events, concerns and initiatives. To help staff streamline their safety huddle meetings, RL6:SafetyHuddles helps huddle facilitators easily record important huddle information directly in customizable forms. All recorded notes, concerns and follow-up pending items are centrally stored within the system and easily accessible.  

During the first six months of 2020, The Joint Commission reported that out of 437 reviewed sentinel events, 372 or 85% were voluntarily reported by an accredited or certified organization.” The event categories included in the report are as follows:  

  • Care management events 

  • Surgical or invasive procedure events 

  • Unassigned 

  • Suicide 

  • Protection events 

  • Environment events 

  • Product or device events. 

The Joint Commission’s “Improving Patient and Worker Safety” guide also highlights guidelines provided by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) that help ensure the safety of staffOne of the elements covers accident/incident investigation, stating, “Information obtained through the investigation should be used to update and revise the inventory of hazards, and/or the program for hazard prevention and control.”  

The organization also requires that “accredited organizations must review all sentinel events and implement risk reduction strategies to prevent recurrence.” Using RLDatix software, organizations can gather important information, build reports, identify trends and share data following an incident involving a patient or staff member. This promotes robust incident reporting across the organization and helps teams move to a proactive state, where they can help prevent future incidents from taking place.  

The future of your patient safety efforts with RLDatix  

As regulatory updates and current events such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact healthcare, it iincreasingly important that organizations evolve their initiatives to drive organization-wide patient safety efforts. RLDatix supports healthcare providers through these industry changes with robust software and programs that support streamlined patient safety and quality initiatives across all levels of an organization.  


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