Increasing Patient Safety and Quality of Care

This paper focuses on patient safety as one of the key nursing issues that is a major hindrance to the provision of the best healthcare. Healthcare services should be delivered in a safe and protected environment in order to avoid diagnosis and medication errors. In the recent past, my organization has not been embracing a culture that values accountability, collaboration, teamwork, and has failed to provide an environment that encourages open communication.

This has contributed to adverse effects related to patient safety and quality of care. Sometimes misdiagnosis and medication errors have resulted in severe lawsuits and loss of human life. Given the importance of patient safety and quality healthcare to the nation’s productivity, the purpose of this proposal is to recommend possible changes that can be made to promote patient safety and increase the quality of care. The implementation of such changes must be done through evidence-based practices. Therefore, the current healthcare environment characterized by patient dissatisfaction and poor working environment cannot be tolerated more.

The problem has detrimental effects on organizations, patients, and the nursing profession in general. To the organization, cases relating to medical errors have the ability to harm its reputation and lack of trust by clients. Patients who are victims of medication errors are likely to suffer physically, emotionally, or psychologically. According to a research conducted in the United States by CDC, at least 70,000 people die each year as a result of hospital-associated infections (HAIs) (Graban, 2016). There is also increased cases of hospital readmission, which is costly to both the patients and the hospital. Therefore, patient safety is a major global health concern that has affected the reputation and trust bestowed upon the nursing profession. Nurses have been invited to embrace evidence-based ways aimed at reducing medical errors to overcome the negative image posed to the profession.

Evidence-Based Interventions for The Problem

The Institute of medical research in the United States recommends at least three evidence-based interventions to improve patient safety and promote quality care. These interventions include changing organizational culture and processes, setting performance and regulatory requirements, employing evidence-based practices, and adoption of nursing best practices (Graban, 2016). First, there is a need to change organization culture that does not encourage collaboration and accountability. The organization has to adopt a culture that a culture that values interprofessional collaboration and teamwork to minimize medication errors and improve patient safety and outcomes.

 Secondly, the organization has to adopt the appropriate and advanced health technology such as electronic health records in order to promote efficiency in service delivery (Clarke, 2013). This implies that the hospital management has to do away with the obsolete machinery and software and must come up with modern systems of data recording and service delivery.   For example, this will help to minimize medication errors related to wrong administration of drugs through the use of e-prescribing technology.

The organization should also invest in research and training of staffs as a key step of improving patient safety and integrating data sources (Graban, 2016). Quality research gives more insights on the things to avoid or on the things to invest in. Training and development of healthcare professionals, on the other hand, is beneficial since it gives the healthcare professionals an opportunity to learn new skills and understand key safety measures.

Barriers and Resistance to Change

Patient safety is a critical issue in healthcare that can be implemented through evidence-based interventions advocated by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, there are various barriers that limit the implementation of the proposed changes hence affecting the possibilities of having error-free health services. One of the primary barriers is lack of commitment from the hospital leadership.

They are hesitant to execute policies that support general conditions or hygiene of the hospital premises hence causing increased cases of hospital-associated infections. Patients pose resistance to change if the proposed changes violate their privacy or do not comply with their religious or cultural beliefs (Graban, 2016). Failure to communicate about the changes to all stakeholders is also a potential cause of resistance. In addition, patients’ inability to adhere to doctors’ prescription lead to prolonged healing process.  For example, most medications require the patient to avoid alcohol and smoking while under treatment. However, if the patient fails to comply, he/she will affect the effectiveness of the drugs.

Other factors likely to cause barriers is poor communication and this might be a problem of either the staff or the management. Poor communication leads to diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment errors which in turn compromise the quality of care and patient safety.

Strategies to Overcome Barriers and Resistance to Change

Effective communication is one of the strategies that an organization can use overcome barriers associated with the implementation of changes meant to improve patient safety and quality of care. The organization should invest in communication systems that are comprehensive, holistic and suited to the needs of all hospital stakeholders (Weller, Boyd & Cumin, 2014). The organization should also develop a solid inter-disciplinary system where different professionals in the medical field can work together to enhance patient outcome and safety.

There should also be regular training of healthcare professionals and the management should give a clear explanation on the needs to embrace changes. Indeed, it is difficult to change a culture and adopt a new one. Workers will always show resistance to the cultural changes and hence it is important to first train them and explain to them the needs of adopting safer cultural practices. Finally, the management should always encourage innovation and embrace safety practices by enacting policies aimed at promoting patient safety.

Plan to Implement Evidence-Based Interventions, steps to Be Taken and Resources Needed

Before evidence-based interventions are implemented, all hospital stakeholders must come to terms so as to ensure that the proposed interventions have achieved the required objectives. The first step is to identify clinical guiding questions, which are represented as PICOT (patient/population, Intervention, comparison, outcome and Time) (MacCallam & Higgins, 2014). The next step is to look for past literature that can be used as a guide. There are many evidence-based interventions but the organization should only focus on the few that are most appropriate to the objectives. After the selection of the best alternative, the next step should be appraising them to determine their reliability and urgency.

Next thing should be the integration of the evidence to the systems after which continuous evaluation can be done to ensure that there are positive changes. The organization will need various resources such as finances to acquire new tools and technology to meet the proposed changes. Also, human resources might be necessary when the organization wants to engage its staff in training sessions. It is a very important stage because staff preparedness, as well as their willingness to embrace changes within the workplace, is a key determinant of implementation success. 

Other Health Care Professionals to Enlist as Team Members to Help Drive Change in The Organization

Inter-disciplinary collaboration is one of the effective practice that the management should be seeking to achieve to help drive the proposed changes. So apart from the nurses taking the responsibility of enhancing the patient safety, other medical practitioners such as the doctors, pharmacists, home health aides, occupational therapists and other support staff must work as a team to promote patient safety and to deliver quality services. Other key stakes to include in the plan is non-profit organizations, which are involved in formulating public health policies. Such organizations can be useful in providing necessary updates on the healthcare needs for patient safety.

 These professionals can best achieve this objective by working as a team towards achieving a common organizational goal. Interprofessional collaboration helps team members to make informed decisions relating to patient diagnosis, prognosis, treatment., and follow-up practices. When all the different professions within the workplace are motivated and have access to the necessary tools and technology, they are likely to meet patients’ needs at ease.

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