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Improving patient safety: a tall order for a single campaign.


Patient safety is an important element of an effective and efficient healthcare system. Although hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices take many steps to keep their patients safe, medical errors happen. Often, adverse events occur when there is a single misstep in a chain of activities.

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade published their hospital safety grades this week. The score rates how well hospitals protect patients from errors, injuries and infections. (Check your health system's rating here)

In addition to the potential harm to patients, medical errors are expensive. The Institute of Medicine has estimated that medical errors cost $17 to $29 billion per year. Medical errors now have a greater impact on hospital reimbursements than ever before and, in turn, can compromise the healthcare organization's financial stability when claims are denied, adjusted or even retracted. The Society for Actuaries recently estimated that non-reimbursable costs range from $810–$47,099 per medical error. Total costs, which include in-hospital mortality and short-term disability, reached over $93,000 per error in 2017.

B&Y recently collaborated with a large health system client to concept, design and launch an internal patient safety campaign, which included a patient-centered message as well as accountability tools to aid in building strong healthcare teams. The goal was to reduce infection rates, put checks in place to prevent mistakes and ensure strong lines of communication among hospital staff, patients and families.

The campaign, which launched during Patient Safety Awareness Week, asked all employees to sign a pledge to stand united in striving to reduce harm in patient care. These pledges emphasize the importance of being committed to safety across the care continuum and reinforce the idea that everyone has a role to play in keeping patients free from harm.

The campaign is an ongoing effort to educate and engage every member of the health system — acting as a catalyst for starting an important dialogue and encouraging staff to take action for improved patient safety.

For more information on how B&Y can partner with your organization, please reach out to us at b-y.net/contact. Together, we can refresh the collective awareness of the problems of patient safety errors, encourage adherence to best practices and strive to reduce patient error costs in your healthcare organization.