From the doctors providing care, to the disposal companies hauling away medical waste, we need to be committed to keeping the public safe from potential harm.
According to the World Health Organization, as many as 1-in-4 patients are harmed when receiving primary and outpatient care.
The need to protect patients and the public has become increasingly important with malpractices, fines and other issues at play. In light of this need, the week of March 10–16 is designated as Patient Safety Awareness Week, and is focused on improving safety in the ambulatory care setting.
Importance of Safety in Healthcare
One of the leading causes of death is preventable harm that happens in the care of a health provider. This is a serious statistic both for patients who trust their care in the hands of medical professionals and for those working in any way at these facilities each day.
Patient safety not only involves having all of the necessary training and education in place for staff, but also helping patients themselves feel empowered over their care. When everyone understands the proper steps needed to prevent medical errors, unnecessary infections and diagnostic mistakes, real change can happen.
Tips to Reduce Risks
While there are risks with anything in life, the focus should be on improving processes so that safety measures are in place for any foreseeable issue before an incident occurs.
These steps should begin at the leadership level with initiatives in place to establish clear policies that follow all the correct steps for safe disposal and handling of medical tools and the waste produced.
Ongoing and consistent training is also an important step. Healthcare professionals – from the doctors providing the care, to the waste management companies hauling away disposed supplies or hazardous material, must be taught, shown and reminded how to keep the public safe from potential harm.
Communication is the other key and plays a major role. Using the proper labeling of disposal containers, and keeping an open line of communication throughout all departments and with patients will provide the confidence needed to speak up when there is a risk or feel motivated to work together and help avoid issues.
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