Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns 2022

Did Hippocrates think that his oath would have such a long-lasting impact when he first wrote it in 400 BC? In fact, whether it’s the actual wording or some derivation, medical students make that same promise at graduation and white coat ceremonies today. In addition, many nurses make a similar pledge, called the Nightingale Pledge, attributed to Florence Nightingale. Regardless of the type of oath or other modern-day professional codes a medical professional lives by, avoiding patient harm is a common thread in each one. But ensuring patient safety through the spectrum of care requires more than an oath. It requires a system-wide commitment and a multidisciplinary approach.

Patient Safety Concerns

Although the provider's desire to provide safe, effective care is centuries old, defining and measuring the quality of care didn’t start until the 1960s. Avedis Donabedian, a health services researcher, defined a taxonomy for measuring the quality of health care called The "Donabedian triad," which is still widely used today. Then in 2005, the passage of The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (PSQIA), established a voluntary reporting system that further increased the availability of data that could be used to assess and resolve patient safety issues.

Today, organizations that include:

Are all designed to bring further awareness to the importance of patient safety and actions that improve the quality of care. The ongoing collection and compilation of data by these organizations and others, help to identify the top patient safety concerns. In fact, it’s essential to identify those top concerns in order to formulate patient safety improvements.

What Are The Main Patient Safety Concerns For 2022?

In 1855, French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote the now famous quote, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That same statement applies to 2022 patient safety concerns because many of the top challenges from previous years remain challenges today.

But, not all are identical. For example, COVID continues to have a lasting impact on the supply chain and it has exacerbated staffing challenges. This creates an additional set of patient safety complications for healthcare providers to tackle.

top 10 patient safety concerns

Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns

But, when assessing various sources that study patient safety, the top 10 patient safety concerns fall into these common categories:

  1. Patient identification accuracy - Patient identification mistakes create a ripple effect that can impact everything from a proper diagnosis and administering the wrong medications to performing the wrong procedures and more.
  2. Caregiver communication - Timely and effective caregiver-patient communications can increase patient satisfaction, enhance patient adherence to medication and treatment regimes, reduce medical errors, ensure prompt treatments for life-threatening situations and improve clinical outcomes.
  3. Medication safety - Adverse drug events, often caused by medication errors, remain among the most common types of inpatient errors. Mistakes also impact vaccine administration. For example, occurrences of improper COVID-19 vaccine formulations and mix-ups between the flu and COVID-19 vaccines have been reported.
  4. Clinical alarm systems and telemetry monitoring - Although these systems allow the clinical staff to monitor patients from a distance, alarm fatigue, equipment malfunctions, battery issues, cyber security disruptions and more, increase the risk of patient harm.
  5. Infection prevention - preventing infections remains a difficult and ongoing challenge for healthcare providers. Although occurrences of C diff and MRSA are declining slightly, they still cause 3 million infections and 48,000 deaths annually. Plus, COVID added another twist to the infection prevention process that made past flu seasons seem insignificant.
  6. Surgery verification - The administration of general anesthesia or deep sedation are procedures that put a patient at the most risk. Research from Johns Hopkins and Patient Safety, highlight the wrong site surgery and other errors that occur during surgical procedures.
  7. Supply chain disruptions - PPE supply chain challenges are well documented. But there are numerous areas that are impacting healthcare organizations. For example, although it's less publicized, material shortages have tightened supplies for labels used on medications, IV tubing, anesthesias, medical devices, specimens and more that can impact patient safety and the ability for your staff to perform their jobs effectively.
  8. Staffing shortages - COVID made a challenging staffing environment significantly worse. Even as providers engage temporary and traveling nursing options and encourage floating within their facilities to alleviate shortages, the patient safety risk remains. link here
  9. Cognitive bias - minority patients are more likely to experience a patient safety event than white patients.
  10. Non-ventilator healthcare-associated pneumonia (NV-HAP) - NV-HAP is a preventable event that occurs 1 in every 100 hospitalized patients with mortality rates that range from 15% to 30%.

What Are The Main Steps To Improving Patient Safety?

Patient safety isn’t a fix-it-and-forget-it problem nor one that impacts only certain departments. It takes a system-wide commitment and ongoing vigilance to improve current processes and navigate the new challenges that will inevitably surface. But as much as good design principles can mitigate some safety issues, many patient safety improvements come down to communication. Developing appropriate protocols, educating and reinforcing those standards and effectively communicating with other staff members and patients can help eliminate many potential safety issues.

For example, the Agency For Healthcare Safety And Research (AHRQ) recommends making time to engage patients and families. This approach brings significant benefits to patient safety and especially the medication safety, caregiver communication, staffing challenge and patient well-being areas.

They suggest following these four evidence-based strategies:

  1. Reduce errors and improve visit efficiency by setting the visit agenda together. Although “not enough time” is a common challenge for providers and may result in a greater time commitment upfront, when patients did write down an agenda, 74% of clinicians and 79% of patients agreed that communication improved and more than 80% of clinicians wanted to continue the practice.
  2. Encourage safe medicine practices by creating a safe medicine list as the first line of defense against medication errors. The CDC and AHRQ estimate 160,000,000 prescribing errors occur annually. Creating this list can help uncover a number of issues including:
  3. Overdosing unintentionally by taking both the generic and name brand medicines
  4. Using outdated prescriptions
  5. Taking supplements that negatively interact with their prescription medicines
  1. Improve communication and health literacy through teach-backs. In a teach-back, the clinician asks the patient or family member to explain in their own words, the instructions they need to follow. Why? Because they don’t remember. In fact, one study found that 80% of the medical information was forgotten immediately and another study found that nearly half of the information they retained was incorrect.
  2. Support collaborative communication using the warm handoff plus. The Warm Handoff Plus takes place between two members of the healthcare team and the patient and/or family member. This engagement serves as a safety check and is a reliable and effective method to improve patient safety and clinical outcomes.

How Does UAL Help Improve Patient Safety

UAL helps healthcare providers improve patient safety through labels that communicate, guide, and instruct patient care and improve clinical outcomes. For example, UAL supplies numerous solutions for patient safety including:

  • Patient Identification - Identifying patients accurately and matching the patient’s identity with the correct treatment or service is a critical factor in patient safety. Admission labels and wristbands provide positive patient identification and communicate other important information to the medical staff including allergies, fall risk and other medical alerts.
  • Caregiver Communication - Effective caregiver communication promotes continuity and improves clarity among the clinical staff and helps prevent errors. Communication labels capture and convey important results for quick action.
  • Medication Safety - Both caregivers and patients play an important role in preventing adverse drug events. So do various medication labels. Anesthesia drug labels aid medication dispensing by helping to prevent confusion, misidentification, dispensing errors and overdosing. Medication instruction labels guideproper dosing for both the caregiver and the patient.

Order UAL Labels

  • Clinical Alarm Systems and Telemetry Monitoring - Effective alarm and telemetry monitoring are crucial to patient care. But, if the alarms don’t work, the clinical staff doesn’t know they need to respond. Equipment inspection and maintenance status labels provide preventive maintenance, service, testing, repair and status update information.
  • Infection Prevention - Hand hygiene remains the most effective way to prevent infections. But, it takes ongoing vigilance to get caregivers, staff, patients and visitors to comply. Infection control labels placed in key locations throughout the facility increase awareness and the importance of taking proper precautions.
  • Surgery Verification - The surgical time out performed in the operating room immediately before the planned procedure is designed. The surgical time out and preoperative checklist labels ensure accurate patient identity, surgical site, and planned procedure.
  • Supply Chain Disruptions - material shortages have tightened supplies for many products including labels used on medications, IV tubing, anesthesia, medical devices, specimens and more compromising the ability for caregivers to perform their jobs effectively. UAL has long-standing supplier relationships and ready stock programs to ensure you have these crucial items when you need them.
  • Non-Ventilator Healthcare-Associated Pneumonia (NV-HAP) - Difficulty swallowing can potentially lead to NV-HAP. Adding swallowing precautions labels to wrist bands and medical charts and screening for dysphagia can help minimize NV-HAP occurrences.

United Ad Label

United Ad Label produces stock and custom labels that help address patient safety concerns that healthcare organizations face throughout their operation. You can see our entire selection of stock products here. Or if your patient safety labeling needs call for a custom product, our Custom Label Designer allows you to design, price, proof and order custom labels online.