How Safe Are Hospital Patients?

Posted by The Evidence Blog on September 13, 2012

By Dee Donatelli, RN, BSN, MBA, Sr. Vice President, Provider Services

Chuck Lauer, former publisher of Modern Healthcare, asked tough questions about hospital care today at the panel discussion that he moderated with two chief medical officers (CMOs) and two chief nurse officers (CNOs) on Wednesday at the IDN Fall Summit. A CMO’s primary responsibility is patient safety and a CNO works to ensure that the standard of care is consistent across all clinical settings.

Patient safety remains an ongoing concern among providers, and the panelists agreed that healthcare in today’s hospitals is not safe. Anyone going into a hospital needs a family advocate to make it out safely! But the panelists emphasized that multiple stakeholders are responsible for patient safety, and all staff—including doctors—must be held accountable.

Surprisingly, there was no alignment among the group with regard to whether patients should be considered patients or customers. The CMOs on the panel said patients, whereas the CNOs said both patients and customers.

What do you think? When you enter the hospital, are you a patient or are you a customer? Does it really matter?

That’s a good question. The group couldn’t decide whether a patient-centered focus or a customer-centered one leads to better patient safety. But the panelists did concur that teamwork, collaboration, and communication were essential. The interpersonal dynamics within teams often contribute to good or bad outcomes. Open communication, trust, and respect are the keys to reducing patient-care errors. A little dose of “please” and “thank you” to those with whom we interface and serve goes a long way toward building trust and respect.

Topics: Hayes Blog

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