As the entire world is facing arguably the biggest crisis in decades (read: the COVID-19 pandemic), ensuring patient safety and quality care has neve
As the entire world is facing arguably the biggest crisis in decades (read: the COVID-19 pandemic), ensuring patient safety and quality care has never been more important. As we head into the end of 2020, COVID-19 spikes are being witnessed across the US once again. While the US healthcare system has always been facing several issues, COVID-19 has plunged it into uncertainty – hospitals and health systems have been facing an unprecedented financial strain as a result of canceling elective procedures to make room for the surge of patients. As the same is about to happen once again, healthcare providers need to ensure that they are ensuring patient safety, providing quality care, and are minimizing risks for their staff. Let’s take a look at how healthcare providers can ensure all of the above and more during the pandemic.
Ways to improve patient safety and quality care amidst the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic caught the world off guard – the US healthcare system was no exception. However, experts have been predicting that cases will rise during the winter, and that’s happening – spikes are being seen across the states. While many healthcare providers didn’t have any strategies at hand during the first time, they can prepare well in advance now. For instance, PPE (personal protective equipment) is a must, and providers must place orders in advance as they will require them to ensure patient safety as well as the safety of the workers. Moreover, caregivers should learn from the limitations they had during the first wave and make necessary adjustments to their strategies to plan better for the upcoming wave of COVID-19 patients.
Ensure a hygienic environment for everyone
While this a no-brainer, this is still the golden rule you have to follow if you want to improve patient safety and quality care within your healthcare facilities. Let’s see a few examples of how one can ensure a hygienic environment for everyone within a hospital.
Instead of having manual doors where patients need to touch the door handles, make the doors automatic by installing applicable equipment. While this might seem costly, it’ll save you from the administrative costs of cleaning the door handles every time someone touches them down the line. This way, providers can ensure a clean and hygienic environment for everyone within the vicinity.
Segregation of patients is crucial for ensuring patient safety as well. For instance, while you must isolate COVID-19 positive patients, you need to have another location planned where you’ll keep the patients who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. Until their test results arrive, you cannot let them into the location of COVID-19 positive patients. By doing so, you’ll mitigate the risks of having a patient contract the virus within your facilities.
While many might not be content with the above, it brings us to the next strategy that can help improve patient safety and quality care.
Enforce rules on everyone
The biggest challenge now in the world is to stay alive by not contracting the novel coronavirus, and one of the best ways to do that is to practice social distancing. Sadly, not everyone is on board with this, as many believe that it violates their rights. However, healthcare providers must ensure that each and every individual within their facilities is following the rules to the T.
For instance, make it absolutely clear that no individual will be allowed without proper PPE such as masks. For all of your staff members, healthcare or otherwise, make it mandatory to wear face shields, gloves, etc – you never know who carries the virus, and you definitely don’t want it to spread under your watch.
Next, make sure that the floor has brightly colored squares that show where patients or staff should stand – this will help practice social distancing. Moreover, put eye-catching posters in easily accessible areas to show the dos and don’ts during the pandemic – many among those who are practicing social distancing might be doing it wrong. Ensure easily accessible sanitizers everywhere – if possible, use automated sanitizer dispensers that are touchless.
Ensure accurate patient data
Patient safety and quality care depend not only on the aforementioned materials but they also depend on information. Healthcare providers have been using EHRs (electronic health records) for a long time now, however, due to a number of external factors, issues like duplicate medical records, patient data corruption, overlays, and others are causing patient information to be incorrect, inconsistent, and fragmented. This leads to issues such as patient misidentification, medical identity theft, and hampers patient safety as well. For instance, if the patient information within a medical record is wrong, the treatment will be wrong as well since it will be based on the wrong information. Thus, ensuring accurate patient data is crucial for improving patient safety and quality of care.
RightPatient enhances patient safety and quality care
RightPatient is a touchless patient identification platform that is crucial for any given healthcare provider. Not only does it accurately identify patients across the care continuum, but it also ensures patient safety by eliminating infection control concerns.
During appointment scheduling, patients are asked for a photo of their driver’s license along with a selfie. After providing them, the platform matches the photos, ensuring that the patient is who they say they are and not someone else, ensuring remote patient authentication.
When the patients arrive at the hospital, all they need to do is look at the camera – the platform matches the photo with the one saved during registration, ensuring a hygienic and touchless experience for everyone involved.
The platform also prevents medical identity theft in real-time by flagging the impostors when they look at the camera. RightPatient enhances patient safety by preventing duplicate medical records, medical identity theft, maintaining patient data integrity, and providing a hygienic environment – all of which have become more important after the pandemic.