The Essentials of Patient Safety

951 WordsJan 7, 20184 Pages
Berwick (1999) notes that a patient safety issue of some concern is medication errors, something that at the time of his writing affected 7 out of every 100 patients. Such errors need not happen, and certainly not to that degree, but there are many issues within health care that allow for such mistakes to occur and put patient safety at risk. In a later article, Berwick (2005) argues for a more business-oriented approach to health care, using TQM principles and other techniques borrowed from business schools. In response to that article, it was noted that health care is inherently different from other businesses, both in terms of the nature of patient care itself, and in the degree of government intervention in the industry (Berwick, 2005, b). Medication errors can have a significant impact on the delivery of health care. The biggest impact comes with respect to patient outcomes. Patients can suffer significant adverse outcomes from medication errors, including having medication conflicts and having medication that simply does not work. The National Quality Forum, or NQF, notes (n.d.) that one of the ways to improve medical practice is to have defined measures, and one of the categories of measurement that it proposes is Outcomes Measures. Several of those would be affected by medication errors, including patient mortality, and patients successfully treated. Some process measures would also be affected, such as the length of stay for admitted patients. Because medication
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