In a recent Medicircle webinar on World Patient Safety Day, our esteemed panellist Dr Milap Shah [Medical Director at R.K Hospital] explained the significance of patient safety in our daily lives and the challenges faced by healthcare institutions in ensuring it. The discussion shed light on the importance of policies, infrastructure, communication, and patient awareness in creating a safer healthcare environment.
Understanding Patient Safety
The webinar began with an introduction by Smita Kumar [Co-Founder at Medicircle], emphasizing the importance of patient safety in our daily routines. Patient safety, as discussed, pertains to safeguarding patients during their healthcare journey. It encompasses various aspects of healthcare, including treatment, hospital infrastructure, and communication.
Why Policies for Patient Safety Are Necessary
One of the key takeaways was the need for policies to ensure patient safety. Hospitals often prioritize treatment, but there are numerous other factors to consider when a patient steps into a healthcare facility. Accidental falls, inadequate infrastructure, and sudden emergencies like fires can jeopardize patient safety. These issues deserve attention from healthcare institutions.
Challenges in Ensuring Patient Safety: Dr Milap Shah highlighted several challenges in maintaining patient safety which include:
1. Infrastructure and Resources: Hospitals must have the necessary infrastructure and resources to prevent accidents like falls and fires.
2. Staff Training: Ensuring that the staff is well-trained in patient safety protocols can be a challenge.
3. Policy Implementation: Creating patient safety policies is one thing; implementing them effectively is another.
The Alarming Impact of Poor Healthcare Quality
Citing a report from the Lancet, it was revealed that poor healthcare quality leads to the deaths of 122 Indians per lakh. This underlines the urgent need to address healthcare quality issues and enhance patient safety measures.
To emphasize the importance of patient safety, a case was discussed where a 50-year-old woman lost her life due to negligence at Wockhardt Hospital. Such incidents highlight the critical role that patient safety plays in healthcare.
The Digitalization of Hospitals: One solution to improving patient safety is the digitalization of hospitals. Digital records can ensure that patient information is readily available, reducing the chances of errors due to missing or incorrect data.
The Need for Effective Communication: Communication gaps between hospital staff and doctors can compromise patient safety. These gaps must be addressed to ensure seamless and safe healthcare delivery.
Addressing Violence Against Hospital Staff: In cases of negligence, hospital staff often face violence. Measures should be taken to protect the safety of healthcare providers.
Preventing Medical Negligence: A staggering 80% of medical negligence cases can be avoided with proper care and attention. Patient education and awareness are vital in reducing these cases.
Patient Rights and Responsibilities: To enhance patient awareness, signboards displaying patient’s rights and responsibilities should be installed in every hospital.
The Role of ABHA Card: The ABHA card, similar to PAN and Aadhar cards for income and identity, respectively, plays a significant role in healthcare. It can help streamline patient information and ensure better healthcare access.
In conclusion, the Medicircle webinar on World Patient Safety Day emphasized that patient safety is a collective responsibility. Healthcare institutions, doctors, staff, and patients must work together to create a safer healthcare environment. Awareness, communication, policy implementation, and digitalization are essential steps towards achieving this goal. By addressing the challenges and prioritizing patient safety, we can reduce medical negligence and create a safer healthcare landscape for all.