4-Ways-Medical-Personnel-Can-Implement-Policy-into-Patient-Safety-Protocol

4 Ways Medical Personnel Can Implement Policy into Patient Safety Protocol

4 Ways Medical Personnel Can Implement Policy into Patient Safety Protocol

Ensuring patient safety has become a focal point for healthcare organizations. (Photo courtesy of pexels)

The following guest post on improving patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Rachelle Wilber.

The safety of patients in a medical facility is just as important as treating their condition. People must feel protected when visiting a hospital or clinic. Otherwise, they will be reluctant to seek medical care in times of need. Medical personnel have a unique perspective in terms of patient care, which can be helpful for improving safety measures. Here are four ways that doctors, nurses, and other staff can encourage necessary changes to patient safety protocols.

Record Risks & Vulnerabilities

Administrators prefer to work with facts and figures. They rely on this type of data to reveal problems and highlight successes. Those with concerns about patient safety should thoroughly document this issue, including any ideas for a solution. This information will have a much greater impact than a passionate speech.

Share Patient Concerns

Customer service is a core principle of the medical field. An important part of making someone feel safe is listening to them. Doctors and nurses can speak for their patients, and allow their fears to be heard. For example, many parents are concerned about childhood healthcare in this country. Medical facilities can share information about the importance of a balanced diet, or how to address mental and emotional issues.

Continuing Education

It may be difficult to influence certain policies and procedures when you are unfamiliar with how things work. Dealing with matters that affect the public can be extremely complicated. Medical personnel who are serious about having an impact should consider continuing their education. Earning a master’s in public administration can prepare you for the challenges of creating a safe and comfortable environment for the patients.

Consult the Legal Department

Sometimes, administrators are hesitant to make changes because they are worried about legal ramifications. They may fear that the end result leads to more problems than solutions. While gathering the details on a particular problem and how to address it, it would be helpful to consult the facility’s legal department. They can explain any laws involved and how to adhere to them. This will smooth things over with administration, so your ideas can be seriously considered.

Security and risk management are generally put in the hands of a facility’s administration. Along with other things, their job is to implement and maintain procedures for threats and emergency situations. However, patient protection is a unified effort. Healthcare providers spend more time with patients than anyone else in a facility. Their insight is a necessary component of any safety protocol.

Author bio:

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

medical identity theft prevention

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk

Medical identity theft can be just as damaging to hospitals as it is to patients. Learn more about what hospitals can do to protect themselves from falling victim to medical identity theft. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Hospitals are generally considered to be a place to seek refuge — a safe haven for both employees and patients alike. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Incidents of medical identity theft are becoming more and more common. Issues involving improper use and disposal of data, hacking, and theft result in not only adverse financial consequences but can also even have negative impacts on healthcare and personal well-being. Identity theft is something that every hospital needs to be aware of and prepared for — these steps can be helpful in preventing medical identity theft and ultimately reducing your hospital’s risk.

Reduce risk associated with personal patient information

The use and storage of patient’s social security numbers is the main source of vulnerability when it comes to identity theft. Data breaches and entry errors can mean that a patient’s information can fall into the wrong hands — compromising the safety of both the individual and the hospital itself. While much of the fraudulent use of patient information comes from stolen or leaked data, verbal or physical forms of sensitive patient information can also end up in the wrong hands. Hospital employees should take care to never discuss patient information in public areas, or with friends and families. In addition, physical forms including patient charts and records (even if they only contain the name of the patient) should be safely used and stored.

Ensure that secure methods are used in storage of patient health information

Every health organization should take necessary measures in order to ensure the safety and security of patient information. An investment in appropriate health IT may be costly up front, but it could end up providing endless savings — both financial, and otherwise — in the long run. Additionally, the use of a unique health safety identifier (UHSI) is a great measure to strengthen information and data security, with positive results extending all the way to the patient.

Avoid storing personal information of patients unless absolutely necessary

While many healthcare providers perceive that patient information — including social security numbers — must be stored for billing and insurance purposes, this simply isn’t the case. The storage of sensitive information (like social security numbers) isn’t always needed, and unnecessarily doing so may pose a risk for the patient and the hospital.

Dispose of patient information responsibly

Just as sensitive information should not be stored unless absolutely necessary, it is also imperative that patient information be disposed of in a responsible manner. Outdated or unused medical information, forms, and billing data should be shred or erased completely when no longer needed.

Assemble and utilize an advisory committee

In any healthcare setting, it is beneficial to have a diverse team of leaders that comes together to regularly review and assess security issues and vulnerabilities. By raising awareness and discussing perceived risks, hospital leaders can be well-informed when it comes to making decisions and implementing efforts to reduce risks and protect sensitive information.

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk

(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Respond appropriately to issues and concerns

Not only can an advisory committee help prevent against identity theft, but the designated team of experts can be essential in addressing issues promptly and adequately. Utilization of an inventory system that tracks all processes and systems that contributed to the security breach can allow for the hospital to pinpoint the weaknesses and make necessary improvements. Once an issue is discovered, the advisory committee will be better prepared to — while looking at the data inventory — prioritize areas of concern and make adjustments that are needed.

Educate the patients themselves

As many hospitals strive to do the best they possibly can when it comes to securing patient information, actually sharing statistics and suggestions with the patients themselves can further improve the security of that information. Patients should be encouraged to keep their cards and information in a safe place and should be told to take caution when sharing sensitive details. Patient participation is crucial when it comes to combating identity theft and security tips and suggestions can be posted as signs throughout the hospital — or given to the patients in a brochure.

Medical identity theft is increasingly becoming a great threat to the safety of patients and health care providers. While there are many ways that patient information can end up in the wrong hands, there are fortunately many ways that both hospitals and patients can prevent this from happening. By working together and considering these tips, hospital staff members can ensure that the information of their patients can remain as secure as possible.

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce RiskAuthor bio: 

Joanna Sommer is the Senior Editor for InformedMag and is passionate about security and tech. She has been working in the home safety and security field for 5 years. Joanna loves to travel and enjoys going to hot yoga and Barre classes. She is dedicated to creating articles that both educate and help people make an informed purchasing decision.

complying with HIPAA regualtions

HIPAA in a Nutshell

HIPAA in a Nutshell

Learn more about the landmark Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), why it was enacted, and who it applies to. (Photo courtesy of pixabay)

The following guest post on the HIPAA law was submitted by Shae Holland.

HIPAA regulations represent a major transformation in the way healthcare organizations handle information regarding their patients. All patients should understand their rights, just as all healthcare facilities must know and conform to the privacy standards. Let’s examine the ins and outs of HIPAA regulations and what they mean for you.

What You Need to Know

HIPAA is an acronym that stands for the Health Information Portability and Protection Act. It was initially passed in 1996 and was the first protective act in the United States passed on behalf of patients’ personal information.

HIPAA was designed to ensure that your healthcare information is only accessed and shared with your permission, and only in the following contexts:

● Coordinating information about your care and treatment
● Providing information to your family, significant other, or friends who are directly involved in your treatment
● Assessing the quality of care provided by the doctor or healthcare facility in question
● Relaying any information requested by law enforcement agencies

The sharing of patients’ personal information in any other context is unlawful and can lead to heavy fines and even heavier settlements — sometimes heavy enough to force an noncompliant business or facility to close. (But more on that later.)

HIPAA regulates many other areas of the healthcare industry as well. Because we’re only covering the basics, we won’t go into detail about all of them. But HIPAA also regulates

● Doctor and Patient Reimbursement
● Coding
● Security
● Care Management

Your Rights According to HIPAA

HIPAA gives you the ability to do any of the following:

● View the information listed in your health records
● Request corrections to information on said records
● Decide who can access and share your health information (and more importantly, who can’t)
● Require providers and other healthcare facilities to request permission to share your information for marketing and other non-treatment purposes
Is All of My Information Protected?
● Any information a doctor puts in your medical record
● Information stored within the computer system of your health insurer
● Billing information from your healthcare provider
● Conversations your doctor has with nurses or other physicians regarding your treatment or care

If at any time you feel that your privacy rights have been violated, HIPAA regulations allow you to file a complaint with Health and Human Services, or file a complaint directly against your insurer or provider.

Why HIPAA Compliance Is So Important

Failure to comply with HIPAA regulations can result in many negative consequences for a healthcare provider or even a small practice; these include both civic and criminal penalties. Fines can be extraordinarily hefty — in 2013, Advocate Health System of Downers Grove, IL, settled three claims of HIPAA violation for $5.55 million.

Who Has to Comply With HIPAA, and Who Doesn’t?

HIPAA does not apply to every healthcare provider, but it does apply to most of them. All healthcare workers must undergo some kind of training or education on HIPAA compliance.

Health Plans: Health insurance companies, company health plans, HMOs, and even certain programs provided by the government (Medicare, Medicaid) must follow HIPAA regulations.

Healthcare Providers: Any provider who conducts business electronically must comply with all recent regulations.

Clearinghouses: Entities that process non-standard patient information must follow these rules as well.

The following are a few of the groups who don’t need to comply with HIPAA regulations:

● Employers
● Workers Compensation Carriers
● Life Insurers
● School Districts
● Law Enforcement Agencies

Conclusion

For over two decades HIPAA has sought to improve the safety and accessibility of medical records. Compliance can be complicated and even annoying for healthcare providers and related businesses, but the benefits of additional personal information security are worth it. After all, it’s a healthcare provider’s job to protect their patients’ health; protecting their personal information and privacy is a natural addition to that duty.

Author bio:

Shae Holland is a professional copywriter with expertise on a range of topics. She’s passionate about healthy living, loves hunting, and adores her two springer spaniels.

 

big data

How Big Data is Changing Medicine

How Big Data is Changing Medicine

Big Data is more than just a buzzword in healthcare – it is fundamentally changing care delivery as we know it. (Photo courtesy of pexels.com)

The following guest post on big data in healthcare was submitted by Chris Saviano.

Big Data is one of those buzz terms you’ll see all over the internet. Something about it sounds slightly sinister, like Big Tobacco. But Big Data is more innocuous: it’s just a term used to define large amounts of data. It can encompass any sort of data coming in, from marketing and demographics data to stock ticker data. In the terms of healthcare, that will mean electronic medical records data, aggregated research and payer information, to name a few sources. And this Big Data is changing medicine in a big way.

Improved technology

Monitors themselves are changing, thanks to Big Data. CNBC reported on a tiny heart monitor patch that can generate 30,000 pages of data on a patient’s heartbeat, and then distill it into a 15-page full report for physicians. The device is made up of a chip and two electrodes.

All of these data points are compiled into a huge database, which grows with each new patient the device monitors. The machine-learned capability gets smarter with each new addition. Then with each new set of data, that helps doctors diagnose faster.

Patient care streamlining

One of the more noteworthy ways Big Data is changing medicine is through better patient care, the heart of any good medical facility. Large amounts of data collected from patients can help doctors educate patients during treatment decisions. Having a wider set of data available helps doctors tailor solutions to each patient.

One of the biggest advantages of Big Data is that it offers a predictive model for patient outcomes. This can result in earlier diagnosis and reduced mortality from conditions like sepsis or congestive heart failure.

According to MapR: “A machine learning example from Georgia Tech demonstrated that machine learning algorithms could look at many more factors in patients’ charts than doctors, and by adding additional features, there was a substantial increase in the ability of the model to distinguish people who have CHF [congestive heart failure] from people who don’t.”

Increased security

MapR also reported on the security features of Big Data in healthcare. Predictive analytics help payers identify inaccurate claims and fraud. Big Data helps with this in that companies can go back into large messes of datasets for past claims and use machine-learning algorithms to detect patterns in fraud.

Key red flags in data include reusing services in short time periods, duplicate charges for healthcare across different hospitals at the same time and prescriptions filled at the same time in different locations. Through this system, companies can assign risk scores based on past behavior and find items of note in large seas of data that would have been impossible to find before.

Faster, more efficient breakthroughs

Big Data is changing medicine behind the front lines of patient care, as well. Researchers looking at gene variants made a search function for the huge sums of data they’ve pulled during gene research. The functionality is called MARRVEL (Model organism Aggregated Resources for Rare Variant Exploration) , but you can think of it as Google for the human genome. Researchers anywhere can also search the database in minutes.

Author Bio:

Chris Saviano is responsible for Business Development and Sales at PGM Billing and leads PGM’s product integration between proprietary cloud-based practice management software and integrated back office service operations.

patient privacy patient data

Top Patient Privacy Concerns With Healthcare Data Integration

Top Patient Privacy Concerns With Healthcare Data Integration

Learn more about the privacy implications when patients share health data online in this guest post from Avery Phillips. (Photo courtesy of Flickr.)

The following guest post on patient privacy was submitted by Avery Phillips.

In many industries, the proliferation of mobile, cloud, and data collection technology is far outpacing the ability of regulatory bodies to keep up. This is especially true in healthcare, partly due to the sensitive nature of patient records and partly due to widespread adoption of mobile health tracking by both practitioners and the general public.

Consumer-generated data is one significant challenge in legislation and education related to privacy, as it isn’t yet protected. Additionally, the long-term impact of tracking and sharing one’s health data through social networks isn’t fully understood.

Data breaches in the healthcare field have already proven that people’s medical histories, social security numbers, and addresses are vulnerable. Cloud technology paired with monitoring devices is giving healthcare providers access to real-time data, and a lot of it. This improves the quality of care, but comes with severe breach risks. While legal understanding catches up to the reality of big data, healthcare providers need to go above and beyond legal requirements to protect patient privacy.

Consumer-Generated Data

The risks of consumer-generated data haven’t been fully explored, but what we do know is that sharing health data online is “a digital tattoo.” That data follows users, is unregulated, can be sold to third parties, and used by hackers or identity thieves.

Platforms like Fitbit and Facebook are just the tip of the iceberg for providers. Wearable technology is allowing patients to receive real-time information and communication from professionals and gives providers access to a constant flow of actionable health information. That relationship evolves with each new innovation, but responsibilities concerning its collection and use haven’t been explored.

Breach Risks

In September of 2013, Advocate Medical Group suffered one of the largest data breaches in history. Four million records, including names, addresses, and social security numbers were taken by hackers.

As new services are introduced, and hackers develop new ways to subvert security, it can be difficult to keep employees up-to-date. An improperly trained employee might fall for a phishing email, accidentally use an unsecured app or cloud service with their personal mobile device, or share login information that enables access to private records. In 2016, 60 percent of all patient information breaches were due to hacking, but not all hacks are the direct cyber attacks we tend to think of. An employee opening the wrong email and clicking the link is a far easier way for a hacker to gain access than, for example, a brute force password crack.

Refusal to Share

Many patients may not realize it, but one threat to their security can occur if a healthcare provider refuses to share their information. Information blocking can come in many forms, such as prohibitive pricing, contracts that block users from accessing their information, and business practices intended to exclude competitors and prevent referrals.

These alleged practices put additional financial burdens on patients and compromise their privacy by restricting access to their own records. Many of America’s biggest vendors and healthcare providers have signed onto a pledge to combat this practice, but it has yet to be put into law.

The advent of rapidly evolving mobile technology is presenting new possibilities in data collection and improving the quality of patient care. On the other hand, the sparks of innovation are vulnerable to attack and mismanagement by unscrupulous business practices. It’s important for healthcare providers to invest in data security and breach recovery contingencies, as well as develop best practices to prevent misuse.

Author bio:

Avery Phillips is a freelance human who loves all things nature (especially humans!). Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or comments.

patient safety in assisted living facilities

Best Practices for Keeping Patients Safe in Assisted Living Facilities

Best Practices for Keeping Patients Safe in Assisted Living Facilities

Learn more about best practices to ensure the highest levels of patient safety in assisted living facilities. (Photo courtesy of pexels.com)

The following guest post on patient safety in assisted living facilities was submitted by Paul Birung.

Assisted living facilities are modern health solutions that enable patients to live in the much-needed comfort of their home. These are centers that cater for varying services depending on who they are caring for. It is therefore important to note that in the same facilities considered a safe haven, every patient has his or her own character. There are those that remain calm during their stay, but there are others that are known to wander depending on the issue at hand. Especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s diseases including other forms of dementia.

It is for this reason that assisted living in Hilton Head including other areas should consider the following best practices for keeping patients safe and at ease in the health facility.

Identify and control wandering triggers

This is mostly important for patients with dementia and other types of illness that may increase the risk of wandering. Caregivers should meet and share with the family members so as to gain more insight into what issue is actually causing the patient to wander. Dementia patients have varying beliefs; one may believe that he/she is going to work, and another believe that he is looking for a lost family or friend – each day comes with its own assumption. Understanding these beliefs will give the nurse the best approach to take this information and use it to gain a more personal focus that will help manage the patient.

Embrace and connect with the patient

The feeling of having people that care around you by itself is therapy at some level. The patient should experience the sense of togetherness – one family. Assisted living facility should always train their staff to embrace the patients, to make them feel safe, and have a sense of belonging. To display the Zen atmosphere, make sure the room temperature is habitable, do not play loud music, and always avoid bright lighting.

Proper Supervision of at-risk patients

A detailed evaluation test should be done on all the patients to identify the different levels of at-risk patients. If a patient is deemed extreme, he/she should never be left unwatched especially when waiting for test or treatment. Constant supervision of these patients is strictly advised in assisted living facilities.

Explore the beauty of the exteriorBest Practices for Keeping Patients Safe in Assisted Living Facilities

Assuming that the assisted living facility has colorful and clean exterior, as long as there is supervision the outside is considered the excellent habitat during the day. Fresh air, green grass, artistic pathways, beautiful flowers and the natural lighting provides the ideal relaxation atmosphere that would calm a racing heartbeat. Recent studies have proven that daily exercise,

 

 as well as the freedom of moving around, have a tendency of reducing the constant movement of dementia patients.

Design protocols in case the worst happens

Effective protocols should be put in place to take care of the nomadic patients who fail to stay at a single place. This should include working with the police and the local residents when a patient is missing or has sneaked out of the facility. The facility should have a recent image of the patients as well as a few possessions kept in a plastic bag. These possessions can be used by the canine unit to pick up the scent for easy tracking of the patient.

Digital solution to the problem at hand

There are also digital solutions such as specialized pressure pads and sensors that can be installed on patient’s chairs and beds that would alert the caregiver once the patient gets up. Radio transmitters are also available to determine where the patient actually is. It is imperative that these practices are implemented to ensure the patients are safe and always at ease within an assisted living facility.

Author bio:

Sean Riggs is an enterprise correspondent and SEO expert. You can connect with him here: LinkedIn

health_tech

How Tech Is Disrupting The Healthcare Market

The following guest post on disruption caused by healthcare technology was submitted by Ryan McEniff.

Technology is affecting every aspect of society, business, and personal life. Every industry has seen change because of the hi-tech revolution over the last 20 years. Industries like fiance, banking, transportation and manufacturing have all been impacted. Health care is no different. Investors have found many new possible products and solutions that are disrupting the traditional healthcare market today and in the future.

The folks over at Minute Women Home Care have created the following infographic about how tech is disrupting the traditional healthcare market. It shows how tech has changed many of the interactions that you have with health care professionals, how global investments have changed health care, and the different trends that are expected to result from these changes. Take a look and learn about this interesting topic that will impact all of us.

Author bio: This article was written by Ryan McEniff, a senior health care expert and owner of Minute Women Home Care, a home health company located in Lexington, MA.

healthcare-disruption-tech

 

 

 

 

 

data centers in healthcare

Technology In The Medical Field: How Data Centers Have Transformed The Industry

Technology In The Medical Field: How Data Centers Have Transformed The Industry

The advent of data centers has helped the healthcare industry connect with the rapid rise in digitization. Photo courtesy of pexels.com)

The following guest post was submitted by Kara Masterson.

While hospitals and health care centers once used paper records only, today’s clinics and hospitals use almost entirely electronic health records, including digital scans, online drug records and web-based diagnostics. All of these technologies are hidden in the data center, which is typically a large building on or away from the campus. These data centers have certainly changed the face of health care.

They Allow for Seamless Patient Records

Data centers make it much easier for clinics and hospitals center to share patient records. For example, someone who has completed a medical technologist online program and who is studying blood samples in one part of the country can upload test results to a doctor across the country, and the doctor can then store the results in the data center.

They Speed Up Health Care

Because patient data is kept in one centralized area, health care can be sped up from the moment one steps in the emergency room until he or she is discharged. Doctors no longer have to wait to treat a patient until they receive and look through a lengthy patient chart. In addition, doctors who are at home can view how their patients are doing via records and results on data centers.

They Improve Patient Outcomes

According to healthit.gov, electronic health records significantly improve patient outcomes in numerous ways. They keep new doctors from prescribing medications that would interact with other prescriptions. They keep a close eye on patient allergies, and they automatically bring up warnings for doctors to see on certain patient diagnoses. This is particularly important in the emergency room setting.

They Help with Mobile Health

According to Exscribe doctors are increasingly taking advantage of data centers and electronic health records to communicate with and even treat their patients using mobile technology. They can communicate via health records and check test results online. This is particularly important for doctors practicing in remote and rural settings.

Data centers have taken all of the information that doctors, nurses and other health care workers used to have to dig for and have put it at their fingertips. With a few keystrokes and clicks, clinicians can know a patient’s health history, find out if there are any potential drug interactions, regulate a pacemaker and diagnose a patient who is miles away from them. Certainly in the next decade or two, even more tremendous changes will come to the health industry thanks to impressive data centers.

About the author: Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

patient safety infection control in healthcare

Key Steps To Keeping Infections Low For Your Patients During and After Surgery

Key Steps To Keeping Infections Low For Your Patients During and After Surgery

Strong infection control policies are an important factor to maintaining patient safety in healthcare. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

The following is a guest post on how infection control impacts patient safety in healthcare.

While most patients undergoing surgery do not experience infection, surgical site infections still present a consistent challenge for surgeons and their patients. Surgical wound infections are one of the more common types of surgical site infection and postoperative complications. Detected approximately one week following a surgery, surgical wound infections are often attributed to poor surgical technique and contamination of the operative field.

The primary symptoms of surgical site infections are redness and pain at the surgical site, cloudy fluid draining from wound, and fever. Surgical wound infections will become red and inflamed if infection occurs.

When surgical site infections do occur they can raise treatment costs substantially. This is due to the fact that they necessitate prolonged hospitalization, antibiotic treatment, diagnostic care, and in rare cases, additional surgery.

Unfortunately, eliminating bacterial exposure of patients entirely pre-, during, and post-surgery is not possible. This is why broad-spectrum antibiotic use has become de rigeur for nearly all surgeries conducted with an anaesthetic. However, even this preventive method does not prevent all infections, and additional steps should be taken. Contrary to popular belief, pre-surgery preparations can be just as important as precautions taken during and after surgery.

Before Surgery

Surgeons often fixate on sterilization practices that pertain to them, sometimes at the expense of site sterilization of the patient. While washing the hands and arms up the elbows with antiseptic soap and wearing a mask, gloves, and gown are certainly important, the cleansing of the surgical site and attention to the patient are just as important.

Skin at and around the surgical site should be washed with an antibacterial soap, prior to the patient’s arrival in the operating room. The patient should also be sure to wear a fresh, clean hospital gown to the surgery. Even though the surgical site will be dressed post-procedure, this will reduce any additional exposure is critical to reducing infection rates as much as possible.

The patient should also be advised to not shave the area in the 48 hours leading up to surgery since razors can irritate the skin, making the area more prone to infection. If hair removal needs to occur in order to increase visibility of the site, it should be clipped rather than shaved.

In many instances, it is also advisable to administer preoperative antibiotics. Awareness of any other health indicators, such as a history of diabetes or smoking, can also help determine the patient’s likelihood for infection.

During Surgery

During surgery, the anaesthesiologist may be of more use in preventing infection than the surgeon. There is evidence that maintaining normothermia and supplementing with oxygen can help to reduce the risk of surgical infection. Consulting with the anaesthesiologist prior to surgery in order to develop an ideal procedure can be useful.

While concern for maintaining sterile surgical tools and a sterile field are certainly important, it is also imperative to consider that most contamination comes from the patient’s own microbiology. Bacteria, yeast and viral strains living on the patient’s skin are the primary source of contamination.

This necessitates the use of a pre-surgical scrub at the operation site. Those used most commonly are iodine- or chlorhexidine-based solutions. Alcohol-based solutions work differently than the first two by denaturing bacterial cell walls. There is some evidence that using a combination of scrub preparations yields better results.

Microbiota within the organ cavity may also play a role. The area of the body operated on is a key determinant in the prevalence of certain infections over others. For instance, cardiac, neurosurgery and ophthalmic surgery all carry increased risk of S aureus infection. Noncardiac thoracic surgery also increases risk of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. Abdominal and gastrointestinal surgeries carry an increased risk of infection by gram-negative bacilli.

Being mindful of the operative field and reducing the number of tissues a single instrument touches can help to reduce infection rates.

Key Steps To Keeping Infections Low For Your Patients During and After Surgery

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

After Surgery

Hand washing is just as important following the operation as it is in the scrub room. Advise nurses and all other staff to wash their hands prior to interacting with the patient, and certainly before assisting with examinations or arranging bed clothing. The patient’s visitors should also be advised to wash their hands and discouraged from touching the wound site or dressing.

When the patient is ready to be discharged, make sure that they have received clear instructions on how to care for their wound, quizzing them and caretakers if needed. Antibiotic care should be continued as indicated. Insisting on your availability for any questions involving follow up treatment can go a long way towards making sure that your patient takes the best care possible, preventing postoperative infection.

Mindful attention to detail in the prevention of infection from the time is admitted into the hospital to the time that they leave is the only way to reduce infection rates.

Key Steps To Keeping Infections Low For Your Patients During and After SurgeryAuthor Bio: Andrew is a keen student studying to become a dentist. His passion for dentistry first ignited when visiting his father at the local practice he worked for. He currently writes for Twentytooth.com and hopes that after studying he can open his own dental practice and help people in need with their oral health.

patient safety in healthcare

5 Tools and Tips for Safely Transporting Patients

5 Tools and Tips for Safely Transporting Patients

Learn more about 5 practical tips to increase patient safety during transportation.

The following guest post on patient safety in healthcare was submitted by Dixie Somers.

Patient transportation is a key component of most hospital care, and if you are in any role in the hospital that brings you into direct patient contact, you will have a part in this vital event as well. Whether you are the unit clerk inputting transport orders or the registered nurse who prepares the patient for transport, you are responsible for the safety and the comfort of the patient. Consider these five tips that will help you safely transport patients between rooms and floors.

Use a “Ticket to Ride”

A “ticket to ride” is a piece of paper that goes with the patient as he or she is transported to a different area of the hospital. It keeps your patient safe by providing transport personnel as well as personnel in the unit to which the patient is going with pertinent patient information. Information that should be included would be patient name, allergies, procedure to be performed, safety risks and information about mobility.

Correctly Identify the Patient

Before a patient is transported, he or she should be correctly identified to the transport personnel using at least two pieces of pertinent data, such as name and birth date. Not knowing their medical history is dangerous for unidentified patients, so it’s important to use a technology like biometrics to verify their identity if they are unconscious. Fortunately, RightPatient can help with patient identification – it has been correctly identifying patients for years. 

Bring Appropriate Equipment

Depending on the patient, certain equipment may be needed for safe transportation. For example, you may need to gather a wheelchair or a stretcher. You may also need to ensure that an IV pole, oxygen tank or heart monitor accompanies the patient. Keep the patient safe at all times by locking devices when they are in a stopped position and by keeping side rails up on stretchers.

Nitrile Gloves

For many years latex had been the chosen material for hand gloves used for medical and surgical procedures as well as for various industrial use. Also known as examination gloves that are disposable type, these gloves protect the hand, especially during surgery and other medical examination. With the rise in HIV across the world, the demand for hand gloves increased
exponentially as these became necessary for daily applications. Latex gloves proved quite costly, and there came a time when nitrile gloves proved to be more affordable and as effective as latex gloves and soon became the primary choice. While latex is pure rubber, nitrile is a synthetically derived product from latex that goes by the name NBR or acrylonitrile butadiene rubber. It has high chemical resistant property, highly durable, and does not tear easily.

Using Transfer Boards or Rollers for Bed-Ridden Patients

A transfer board or roller will take a great deal of the weight out of the patient when you are moving them from one bed to a stretcher for transportation. Be sure to maintain the patient’s dignity at all times by using gowns and blankets and by closing the door or curtain to the patient’s room. Always have at least two people to help a mobile patient get out of bed and at least four people to help move an immobile patient from one bed to a stretcher. If you do not have adequate staff for transport and you injure your back, meet with a personal injury attorney who can help you recoup your financial losses for physical and emotional trauma.

Incorporate Gait Belts for Mobile Patients

Patients who are able to walk should still be secured using a gait belt placed comfortably yet snugly below the armpits. The gait belt will ensure that the patient does not fall while walking down a hallway. It is important to use the belt even if the patient is holding onto a walker because hospital hallways can be slippery.

With the incidence of patient identification errors on the rise today, you must be sure that you are transporting the correct patient and that you are doing so safely. In fact, up to 10% of patients are misidentified in hospital records and around 6% of these individuals experience negative health consequences. Be sure that you are part of the cure for your patients by using these tips to keep them comfortable and secure during hospital transportation.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger from Phoenix, Arizona, who loves most to write for health, technology, and business niches. Dixie is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.