Patient quality and safety in healthcare is vital

Key Takeaway:

Patient quality and safety are core aspects of healthcare. They need to be administered and assessed in the backdrop of a variety of factors.

Many healthcare professionals see patient quality and safety in healthcare as being part of the broad canopy of healthcare. There is some disagreement and confusion as to the exact meaning of the terms patient quality and safety, but that is only when it comes to semantics. In broad terms, one can understand patient quality and safety in healthcare as efforts and steps and processes meant to improve the quality care given to patients. Patient quality and safety in healthcare relates chiefly to:

  • Improving the safety of patients and augmenting the quality of health care in the various areas of health
  • Bringing about a reduction in infections that are sometimes a byproduct of provision of health care
  • Reduction in the incidence of adverse drug events

Quality healthcare, of which patient quality and safety in healthcare are an integral part, is defined as "...doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right person, and having the best possible result" by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The AHRQ also describes patient safety as "the act of doing no harm", and which "...underlies all aspects of quality health care."

Measuring patient quality and safety

Measuring patient quality and safety in healthcare is of utmost importance because no system or practice is meaningful unless it is capable of being measured. The level and success of patient quality and safety in healthcare is measured against the following parameters:

  • How many patients who underwent surgery experienced infections?
  • How many patients were required to be admitted for a second or subsequent time following discharge from hospital because of complications such as infections or recurrence of the problems for which the patient was admitted?
  • To what extent did the healthcare setting adhere to evidence-based practices, meaning administering scientific knowledge-based procedures and treatments?

Other ways by which patient quality and safety are measure in healthcare

Patient quality and safety in healthcare are also measured in terms such as:

The problem with measuring patient quality and safety

The definitions and understanding notwithstanding, there are difficulties in assessing and measuring patient quality and safety in healthcare. This is because a lot depends on the patient condition. Imagine a nonagenarian receiving the best treatment and still succumbing. Would one attribute this death to lack of patient quality and safety? Given highly fluid and unpredictable situations in which healthcare professionals operate; it is wiser to judge patient quality and safety in healthcare with a pinch of caution and subjectivity.

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