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Seeking to enhance and improve patient safety, The Joint Commission has published its national safety goals for 2021.

The Joint Commission is the credentialling agency for healthcare facilities across the US.  The organization develops evaluative standards to assess the delivery of healthcare by providers and institutions.  The Joint Commission issues sentinel alerts on topics and practices of critical concern to healthcare providers as well as education and performance metrics to help providers improve and maintain the standards of health care in their practices and on a day-to-day basis.

Each year, The Joint Commission creates and circulates a priority list for patient safety for the following year.  Despite best efforts, errors made during medical treatment continue to disable, injure, and kill patients across the country.  These annual goals are intended to raise awareness and hopefully reduce patient harm caused by physician and institutional mistake. This year, some of the highlighted areas of concern include:

  • Ambulatory care: Improve medicine safety, appropriately identify patients, reduce mistakes made in surgery and reduce infection
  • Behavioral health care: Reduce infection rates, reduce suicide risk, improve information sharing about medicines
  • Critical access: Identify patients using two forms of ID, improve correct delivery of test results, improve medicine safety through appropriate labeling, use caution with anti-coagulants, share medicine information along the chain of care, reduce and prevent surgical mistakes
  • Home care: Improve fall prevention protocols, identify home safety risks such as fire in the home of a patient receiving oxygen, reduce infection, use medicines correctly
  • Hospitals: Identify patient risk such as suicide, revisit alarm protocols to respond to appropriately sounding alarms, reduce infection, prevent wrong-site or wrong patient surgical errors, use surgical medicines appropriately, use caution with anti-coagulants, improve delivery of test results
  • Laboratory: Improve communication for delivery of test results, prevent infection, identify patients accurately
  • Nursing care: Reduce patient fall risk and risk of bed sores, prevent infection, use caution with anti-coagulant medications, improve patient identification
  • Office surgery: Improve safety practices to reduce surgical mistakes, prevent infection, improve sharing of medicine information, improve patient identification

These priority goals represent a broad wish list in the fight against medical error.  While medical mistakes occur every day, many go unnoticed—but others cause serious injury.  If you, or a loved one, is seriously harmed by a breach in medical care, speak with our experienced malpractice attorneys today.

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