Quality in healthcare is the level to which the health services provided to an individual or a population increases the probability of the desired outcome which is consistent with the relevant professional knowledge (Crimmins, Jagger & Robine, 2013). Quality healthcare improves the likelihood of the success of the medical intervention in patients. The Institute of Medicine(IOM), a non-governmental organization based in Washington that provides national advice on issues relating to medicine, and healthcare provision, has developed guidelines for improvement of healthcare services. These guidelines incorporate the six main aims of a quality healthcare; safety, effectiveness, patient-centered care, timeliness, efficiency and equality (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2016). This essay discusses the importance of the six main aims of the IOM healthcare provision guidelines as well as the vital role of patient safety in the provision of medical care. Patient safety is a key issue in healthcare that requires improvement.
Patient safety ensures that patients are not harmed as they receive medical care. Effectiveness aims to provide medical care based on the available scientific care and that the healthcare providers avoid services that are less likely to benefit the patient. Patient-centered care should be respectful and dynamic depending on the preferences and values of the patient. The patient values should be incorporated in all aspects of the decision-making process. A timely healthcare service reduces waits and delays in the provision of medical care. An efficient service avoids waste of resources from both sides of the medical providers side as well as the recipients (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2016). Time, energy, supplies and equipment are valuable resources in healthcare, and they should be used appropriately and effectively. Equality ensures that care is offered equally to all people of different gender ethnicity or even different socio-economic backgrounds.
Many errors occur during the provision of medical care, and these errors may have serious consequences on the lives of patients (Stahel, 2016). When these mistakes happen in hospitals, patients may experience complications due to the medical intervention or slower recovery. Mistakes such as air embolism where an air bubble is trapped in blood vessels can occur during surgeries, and this may lead to stroke or death due to the blocking of blood flow. This makes patient safety a priority for healthcare providers. Patient safety plays a crucial role in the provision of healthcare services. It is important for healthcare providers to ensure that zero harm happens to patients when there are under care. Patient safety involves elimination of all harm in patients that may result in serious consequences to patients whether it is the infection of wounds or development of stomach ulcers.
According to The Leapfrog Group (2016), hospitals in the United States have a very poor safety record. More than 400,000 patients in the United States die annually due to hospital errors, infections, accidents and injuries (The Leapfrog Group, 2016). This represents the death of at least 1000 patients of patients, which could have been avoided, due to errors and insufficient safety measures. The group also reports that 5% of patients develop infections that they did not have to develop due to errors in the treatment processes. With these high incidences of fatalities and harm due to errors, it is vivid that the patient safety is clearly a huge problem facing the healthcare sector in the United States and urgent steps are required to mitigate the problem.
Patient safety introduces a set of new tested methods that enable people to enable health institutions to improve their service delivery with the ultimate goal of reducing preventable harm for patients (Smith et al., 2013). There is a need for hospitals to publicize the issue of patient safety. The inability of patients to speak up when they notice errors leads to the high number of patients suffering due to mistakes by their medical care providers. Negative behaviors and attitudes that prevent from doctors and nurses from learning from errors also contribute to the high fatalities due to preventable mistakes.
To combat the problem, there is a need for hospitals to improve their safety record. It is important for patients and healthcare providers to understand the importance of patient safety and ensure that the mistakes made during treatment sessions are dealt with promptly. A culture of reliability is needed in the healthcare industry where all medical professionals agree to work by applying the relevant knowledge in all cases (Carayon, 2016). Human factors should be used as a standard for training and medical intervention Leadership, safety culture, communication, teamwork and a good working environment will improve the performance of the workers in the healthcare sector.
The application of IOM guidelines on the delivery of healthcare services will lead to a vast improvement in the quality of medical care services. One of the aims of the guidelines involves protecting patients from harm during treatment. It is evident that hospitals in the United States have not invested sufficiently in patient safety. Even though the harm is preventable, it is still causing a huge number of deaths. Therefore, it is important for adequate measures to be taken to ensure that patients do not die due to the errors of the people who are required to protect them.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2016). The six domains of health care quality | agency for healthcare research & quality. [online] Ahrq.gov. Available at: https://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/talkingquality/create/sixdomains.html [Accessed 20 Oct. 2017].
Carayon, P. (Ed.). (2016). Handbook of human factors and ergonomics in healthcare and patient safety. CRC Press.
Smith, M. D., In Saunders, R. S., In Stuckhardt, L., In McGinnis, J. M., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2013). Best care at lower cost: The path to continuously learning health care in America.
Stahel, P. (2016). Patient safety in surgery. Springer London Ltd.
The Leapfrog Group (2016). What is patient safety?. [online] Hospitalsafetygrade.org. Available at: http://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/what-is-patient-safety_m [Accessed 20 Oct. 2017].
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