Group Plans To Issue Patient Safety Guidelines
Members of a coalition of health care purchasers, quality groups and federal agencies in conjunction with the National Quality Forum have agreed to support a single set of 30 "safe practices" for all hospitals to follow to help prevent patient deaths and injuries, the Wall Street Journal reports. Among other practices, the guidelines will recommend that hospitals promptly disclose medical errors to patients and their family members; implement evidence-based programs to prevent errors during nurse shift changes; and evaluate all support staff members for patient safety competency.
The guidelines also will include recommendations for implementation. According to the Journal, the guidelines "will likely be incorporated into the growing number of programs that reward those who take steps" to improve patient safety.
Consumers will have access to the guidelines on the NQF Web site. NQF developed the guidelines based on recommendations from CMS, the Leapfrog Group, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, Kaiser Permanente and others.
NQF President Janet Corrigan said that the guidelines will provide "a much better chance of being able to focus limited resources on those areas that evidence shows will achieve the greatest gains and lead to better safety for patients."
JCAHO President Dennis O'Leary said that hospitals might not have the ability to implement all 30 of the practices recommended in the guidelines at the same time. He said, "We want these changes to happen, but our concern is that if you ask hospitals to do too much at once, the risk is they won't do anything well."
NQF will formally issue the voluntary guidelines, which will replace recommendations issued in 2003, after a public comment period ends on Nov. 14 (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 11/1).