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Quality & Patient Safety

Quality & Patient Safety

The quality/patient safety department assists hospitals with meeting The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals, addressing CMS patient safety-related regulations, ensuring patient satisfaction, and improving the overall quality of care.

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Top Stories

  • Suicide Prevention National Patient Safety Goal updated

    The Joint Commission (TJC) announced revisions to its suicide prevention National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) November 27. NPSG 15.01.01 now has seven elements of performance (EP), up from three. All the changes are listed in R3 Report 18 and will take effect July 1, 2019. The update applies to all TJC-accredited hospitals and behavioral healthcare organizations.

    The report says the new EPs aim to improve quality and safety of care for patients treated for behavioral health conditions and who are identified as high-risk for suicide. TJC officials say the revised requirements are based on more than a year of research, review, and analysis with multiple panels convened by TJC and representing provider organizations, suicide prevention experts, behavioral facility design experts, and other key stakeholders.

    “The science of suicide prevention has really advanced over the past few years, including better tools for screening, assessment of suicidal ideation, identification of environmental hazards in health care facilities, and methods to prevent suicide after discharge,” said David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president of TJC’s Division of Health Care Quality Evaluation, in a release. “We had not updated the NPSG since its original release in 2007. This revised version and the accompanying resource compendium will more robustly support health care organizations in preventing suicide among patients in their care.”

  • Sharp HealthCare: Before the plane crash

    In January 2009, all eyes were on the Hudson River when a plane flying out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport crash-landed in the river after striking a flock of geese. Thanks to fast acting by the pilots, all 155 passengers survived, with few major injuries. Trouble started afterwards, though, because of a communication breakdown between airlines and hospitals.

    After the crash, victims were sent to multiple hospitals in New York and New Jersey. At the request of family and loved ones, US Airways called the hospitals to figure out where each passenger had been sent. However, fear and misunderstanding of HIPAA laws prevented the facilities from revealing that information, causing more distress for people wanting to find their loved ones and see if they were all right.

    The disaster spurred officials at San Diego International Airport (SAN) and local hospitals to join forces to create an emergency preparedness partnership. A year after the crash, SAN and San Diego hospitals were holding regular meetings together, providing training, and developing contact sheets of whom to call should a crisis occur.

  • Remembering Winter Storm Jonas

    Consult your emergency management plan when facing an impending storm, and update this plan with lessons learned after each storm to avoid grappling with problems that may already have solutions. This is just one of the lessons reinforced for hospitals that were impacted by Winter Storm Jonas (aka “Snowzilla”) back in January 2016.

    It’s been a few years since Jonas smothered the East Coast, so here are a few facts to refresh your memory:

    • 14 states received over a foot of snow. Seven of them saw over 30 inches of snowfall, including places like New York’s JFK airport and Allentown, Pennsylvania.
    • West Virginia received 42 inches of snow.
    • At the time, Jonas was the biggest single snowstorm on record for at least six locations.
    • 11 states declared a state of emergency, and 13,000 flights were canceled.
    • More than 80 million people were affected by Jonas, with at least 55 deaths attributed to it.


  • SHEA issues infection control guidance for anesthesiology

    In December, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) issued new guidance for preventing infections associated with anesthesiology procedures and equipment in the operating room (OR). Published in SHEA’s journal Infection Control & Healthcare Epidemiology, the guidance provides steps for improving infection prevention using increased hand hygiene, environmental disinfection, and continuous improvement plans.

    “Even though the demands on anesthesia providers make infection prevention best practices more challenging, there are opportunities for improvement,” said Silvia Munoz-Price, MD, PhD, lead author of the guidance and professor of medicine at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin, in a release. “We describe how the anesthesiology team and hospital leaders can optimize infection prevention in operating room anesthesia, and we give suggestions for the future, including the need for better equipment design.”

  • Incoming EPA rule will change the game on hazardous waste pharmaceuticals

    Tell your nurses that soon that packaging for a patient’s nicotine patch, gum, or lozenge might go straight into the regular trash — as long as it is FDA-approved as an over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy.

    And your state must sign off on the exemption of the packaging as hazardous waste under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). That’s just one of the benefits you can expect in handling hazardous waste pharmaceuticals at your facility now that the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its long-awaited “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals and Amendment to the P075 Listing for Nicotine.”

    However, get the word out to everyone in your organization who handles hazardous waste pharmaceuticals that, in the near future, flushing or rinsing those drugs down a drain into the sewers will be specifically prohibited.

  • Suicides and drugs cut U.S. life expectancy

    It’s not news to most providers that suicide and drug abuse are on the rise. However, a trio of reports from the CDC have shed light on the extent of the problem.

    In 2017, American life expectancy dropped for the third year in a row, with the main culprits of the decline being drug overdoses and suicides. There was a grand total of 2.8 million deaths that year—69,000 more than in 2016 and breaking the U.S. record for most deaths in one year. Of those deaths, 70,237 were drug overdoses and 47,000 were suicides.

    The research shows that a baby born in 2017 had 1.2 months shaved off its life expectancy compared to one born the year before (78.6 years from 78.7).

Quality & Patient Safety Blogs

The PSO Solutions Blog provides members and others with the latest patient safety news and interpretation. The Peminic-Greeley Patient Safety Organization provides a safe environment where members� patient safety data is securely and confidentially collected, de-identified, aggregated, and reported back to all members.
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Patient Safety Monitor Blog features daily news and updates of patient safety regulations and information.
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  • Patient Safety Monitor

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