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What is Patient Safety?

Patient safety means the way in which hospitals, clinics, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare organizations and professionals protect their patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

Statistics show that every year, one out of every 25 patients develops an infection that didn’t have to happen while in the hospital. A Medicare patient has a one in four chance of experiencing injury, harm, or death when admitted to a hospital. And each day, more than 1,000 people will die because of a preventable hospital error.

The goal for all hospitals should be to keep their patients safe; however, some hospitals—— for a number of reasons—— don’t do so. Roughly a quarter of a million people die each year from preventable errors in hospitals. With that staggering statistic, it’s up to all of us to make certain that patient safety is the top priority at every Michigan hospital and across the country.

Roughly 400,000 hospitalized patients experience some type of preventable harm each year. Research shows that medical errors cost billions every year.

Medical errors typically include surgical, diagnostic, medication, devices and equipment, and systems failures, infections, falls, and healthcare technology. About half of paid malpractice claims are related to outpatient care, and missed diagnoses or injuries from medication are common in outpatient settings.

Is Patient Safety a Top Priority in Michigan Hospitals?

Patient safety is a top priority in the vast majority of the hospitals in our state. These facilities have strong healthcare teams that aim to reduce infection rates, put checks in place to prevent mistakes, and implement strong lines of communication among hospital staff, patients, and families.

However, some hospitals don’t have these proactive safeguards in place. Hospital leadership may put emphasis on other things than patient safety. If a staff member makes a mistake, these hospitals don’t have a team ready to respond immediately. As a result, patients can experience dangerous complications, recovery is slower, and some patients even die unnecessarily.

How Do I Report an Issue at the Hospital?

Most hospital errors can be prevented, and there are a number of things patients and their families can do to protect themselves from harm. If you are concerned, believe that something may go wrong, or if you actually see an error made in a hospital, you should speak with someone immediately, and don’t wait to report the incident if no one’s available. When you discuss the issue, do so in a respectful and assertive manner. Let the caregiver know so he or she can address the problem quickly.

Speak with a hospital employee who can investigate and resolve the problem. Make sure you set expectations as to their response, and you or a family member should follow up after reporting. If you don’t get an answer during your stay or shortly after being discharged, talk to the hospital’s customer service, patient advocacy, or patient and family relations department.

Many hospitals have established a system for reporting errors, so use this system and document your dealings.

Is There a Difference Between Patient Safety and Quality?

You should understand that safety concerns the lack of harm, while quality has to do with efficient, effective, purposeful care that gets the required task completed at the right time. Safety focuses on avoiding bad events; in contrast, quality concerns doing things well.

Finally, safety makes it less likely that mistakes will occur, and quality improves the overall care experience.

Contact a Michigan Medical Negligence Attorney

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury that may be medical negligence resulting in injury or death, speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Michigan medical negligence attorney immediately to protect your interests or those of your loved one.

Buchanan Firm retains medical professionals who are available to immediately investigate your claim to determine if the deviation was caused by medical negligence. Buchanan Firm’s team has Michigan medical malpractice attorneys, doctors, nurses, and paralegals to assist you in this difficult time.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after hours, at home or in the hospital to accommodate you.