Patient safety is the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care and the reduction of the risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care to an acceptable minimum.
Syed S Perveez, General Manager, East Africa Emergency Services is a senior Business Leader experienced in handling large operations and delivering balanced performances across Costs, Productivity Quality, & Human Resource Parameters in the service industry sectors for almost 2 decades.
East Africa Emergency Services provides local and remote ambulance service, peace of mind service for diplomatic missions, acquisition of medical equipment, and first aid training for health and non-health professionals. Though currently focused on Ethiopia, through our local partner, we can also provide training and remote ambulance services throughout the region.
COVID-19 struck us overnight
Syed sheds light on the subject, “Patient safety is the most important one because as we know, the whole world has been swept over with this COVID-19. And it's an experience that we never had for at least I think last 100 years or something. It all struck us overnight, and then some of us took time to even think what it is. And finally, it came to us, and then the thing is, on one side there is patient safety. On the other side, there is also the hospital, staff safety also because we have to keep both of them safe. The diseases can spread either way. So the most important thing is hospitals have to develop protocols and I'm sure they have developed already by now but they have to stick to it. They have to ensure that first thing is that whoever is in contact with the patient in the hospital, the safety right from the watchman to the housekeeping staff to the nurses to the ward boys, everybody has to be briefed properly so that there's no issue left open. It’s like everybody's educated, everybody knows that life is important for the first, because this virus is something that they carry back home, then they can pass it on to other people. That is one and the second thing is the patients who come in, they have to really maintain proper care of them, they have to guide them also how to be safe and enough, they have to take them to the earmarked wards only because every hospital is dedicated certain wards to them, there are fewer clinics that are set up. So this whole thing has to go in synchrony. And that is when we can ensure that the patient and the healthcare staff safety both are achieved,” he says.
99.9% we are very well within the compliance
Syed shares his thoughts, “What we do at our hospital is we ensure that everybody is, first of all, briefed through a day's training as to what exactly is COVID, how they have to keep themselves safe, and we have provided the personal protective equipment, the sanitizers on all the floors, and all the departments, they all are given gloves that they wear, masks that are provided by the hospital. So all these things are done religiously and we also supervise them while on rounds and we ensure that everybody follows because people are not in the habit and we had to really drill it down into their head that this is how it works. Even the patient’s attendees who come, sometimes they are careless, they're like, what will happen to me? They pick up a fight with the security guy, so we educate them, we have people that are located at the reception, who talk to such people and who calm them down and who educate them that they should not take the risk back and now the things are falling in place, I think 99.9% we are very well within the compliance. So, we are giving prime importance to patients and healthcare safety because both of them go hand in hand. Now the patient brings the virus to the hospital and it is not like he comes to spread it, he has to come to get cured and he has to go because the hospital visions his care and cure both, it cannot be just like caring and or curing, it is both. And also you have to care for your own people that are most important,” he says.
Technology can really go a long way
Syed explains, “There are a lot of things that need to be done because technology can really be leveraged in the hospital setting to a great extent, and abroad in the Western countries, they have done it all. Now the thing is how you use the technology is the most important thing, like for example the patient registration, it can happen without any contact, you just put on the kiosk and then the patient or somebody can just punch in the details and then the patient ID card can come in like that we can start off and there are also multi parameters now, we will not ask the patients to go and check the blood pressure or the temperature, there are multi parameters are there you just hook it on to them or you just guide them to go and sit in that particular kiosk and they get the report. Even the ECG, temperature, weight, SPO2, all of these things are generated automatically. Like this, technology plays a major role. We can put it in various other aspects as well, for example, the prescription can be typed on a computer and a printout would be given to the patient and what happens there is you don't have an issue with the handwriting because what happens normally is the doctors just scribble because they are in a hurry of time or they're not used to writing and the pharmacists just give a blank face, they say we don't know. So these are all the areas where technology can really go a long way. It will take time because not all hospitals are equipped, and not all hospitals make up their mind as well. But surely, we are going to be there,” he says.
We are at the mercy of the patient, not the other way round
Syed shares his opinion on ensuring patient’s safety from diagnostic errors, healthcare-acquired infections, medication errors, readmissions, wrong-site surgery, and communication, “This is a key thing, unless you don't have Quality Management System in the hospital and that is not imparted to all the hospital staff, it will occur. In my experience, hospitals get NABH accredited for sake of it, but nobody follows it. But it has to go down to the last person who has to understand why we are doing something; you have to believe in what you're doing. If you don't believe in it you don't work in the hospital, like for example, if we talk about the nurses or the staff, we all are working towards a shared vision and we've got a common vision in mind that is to ensure that the patient is actually a customer. That's the way we have to see we cannot see a patient as a helpless person who's just coming and he's at our mercy. Now, that is, sadly, the issue with most of these small hospitals, they don't understand that patient is a person who is bringing you revenues, so you better respect him. And Mahatma, Gandhi has said the most important words that a patient are the most important person at your premise, nobody else. So the patient has to be treated with the importance that he has to be. If you see a five-star hotel, the way he's received and the way he's respected, there shouldn't be anything short of that at a hospital because he's got a problem that means business to you. And he's bringing business to you. At the same time, he expects a cure for him in a very sophisticated manner in a humble way, we should empathize with him saying that what if he had to be one of our family members? So relations make all the difference. I think the big hospitals are doing it and then all these things will not happen, the diagnostic errors, or the wrong site surgeries, and all of these because protocols are followed. We have to take that sense that a patient is not at our mercy, we are at the mercy of the patient. That should be the motto,” he says.
Edited By- Rabia Mistry Mulla