Practice of Medicine


Top Five Patient Safety Strategies

The five suggestions outlined below are areas of focus for all healthcare facilities, hospitals, and physician practices to improve patient safety.

1. Coordination of care – Physicians, health care workers, and patients should work together to develop a treatment plan

Care coordination is the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants (including the patient) involved in a patient's care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health care services. Organizing care involves the marshalling of personnel and other resources needed to carry out all required patient care activities and is often managed by the exchange of information among participants responsible for different aspects of care. 

2. Communication – Physicians should improve communication and communication channels among their peers as well as their patients

Current research indicates that ineffective communication among health care professionals is one of the leading causes of medical errors and patient harm.  A review of reports from the Joint Commission reveals that communication failures were implicated at the root of over 70 percent of sentinel events. Strategies to enhance teamwork and communication should be developed in each healthcare setting.

3. Medical Records/Documentation – Keeping thorough documentation is crucial for patient care

The medical record serves as an indispensable method of communication among healthcare providers. A well-kept record supports your claim to a high standard of care, while a poorly kept record can make an otherwise excellent healthcare provider’s care look deficient.

4. National Patient Safety Goals – Be aware of and adhere to national patient safety goals

In 2002, The Joint Commission established its National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) program. The NPSGs were established to help accredited organizations address specific areas of concern such as medication management to prevent mixing medications, universal protocol among all health care facilities, and hand hygiene to prevent hospital acquired infections. 

A panel of widely recognized patient safety experts advise The Joint Commission on the development and updating of NPSGs. This panel, called the Patient Safety Advisory Group, is composed of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, risk managers, clinical engineers and other professionals who have hands-on experience in addressing patient safety issues in a wide variety of health care settings. 

5. Informed Consent – The act of getting consent from a patient is an opportunity to thoroughly inform the patient about the procedure for which they are providing consent.

Informed consent is a process for getting permission before conducting a healthcare intervention on a person. An informed consent can be have been obtained based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and future consequences of an action from the patient. When properly conducted, the Informed Consent process equates to patient/family education, and works to further develop the physician-patient relationship.



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The information provided in this resource does not constitute legal, medical or any other professional advice, nor does it establish a standard of care. This resource has been created as an aid to you in your practice. The ultimate decision on how to use the information provided rests solely with you, the PolicyOwner.