Earlier this month, the editors of Becker's Infection Control & Clinical Quality published an important analysis concerning patient safety. Specifically, the editors chose what they believe to be the 10 most important patient safety matters that medical providers should focus on during 2017.
Interestingly, the editors did not order these patient safety challenges from least pressing to most pressing. Instead, they opted to list them in no particular order. This lack of ranking suggests that each of the patient safety matters listed is pressing in its own way. Given that the healthcare industry is complex, varied and nuanced, this seems to be an appropriate way to approach challenges that affect a variety of patients struggling under a variety of circumstances.
These top 10 pressing issues include patient safety transitions, vaccine coverage and contaminated water. These three safety issues illustrate that even the most basic healthcare challenges can result in serious threats to patient safety. One does not think of American hospitals and healthcare facilities as suffering from a contaminated water crisis, a lack of vaccinated patients and an urgent need to protect patients as they move from one facility to another or to their own homes. However, it seems that these are silent challenges being played out quietly and urgently beneath public notice.
In addition to these three, the editors have identified the need for health equity among patients who suffer from economic vulnerabilities and other challenges to obtaining quality health care. Similarly, a lack of proper behavioral health management protocols is affecting the safety of patients with mental health issues and the providers who care for them.
Rounding out the list of 10 are management of emerging diseases, the spread of antibiotic resistance, a need for transparency in regards to quality data, sterilization challenges and the prevalence of catheter-associated infections of the urinary tract. Many patients are likely unaware of these pressing challenges and should consider speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney if they have been harmed by medical mistakes related to any of these issues.