Worker-focused solutions for hospitalized-patient safety hazards


When patients enter a hospital for treatment and care, they may or may not expect that they will ultimately return home healthy and healed. A variety of factors contribute to a patient’s overall chance for both recovery and survival.

However, regardless of what conditions patients suffer from and what their prognosis is, most patients certainly do not expect to suffer death in American hospitals as a result of negligence, errors or general medical malpractice. Even though many Americans understand that fatal medical errors occur in hospitals, patients generally do not expect that they will become victims of these incidents.

Too often, preventable fatal medical errors claim the lives of hospitalized patients. Though hospital administrators, healthcare providers and support staff across the nation are working hard to reduce this tragic error rate, preventable fatalities continue to occur. Many experts are beginning to seriously question why current efforts aimed at preventing error-related fatalities in hospitals are not yet succeeding in meaningful ways.

Recent research may hold the key to answering this question. Evidence gathered by experts at Loma Linda University Medical Center and Gallup indicates that employee engagement strongly impacts both worker safety and patient safety in hospital settings. According to the research, there are 12 primary workplace factors that directly link employee engagement to increased patient safety. Essentially, by achieving certain levels of employee engagement, healthcare facilities are both more likely to reduce workplace accident rates and to enhance patient safety overall.

In order to keep hospitalized patients safe, hospitals must take care to engage their employees in a variety of ways. Safe, engaged employees lead to a more focused culture of patient safety and reduced error rates. The issue of employee engagement within the healthcare profession is a complex one. But recent research indicates that unlocking it will help to enable patients remain safer when hospitalized.

Source: Gallup Business Journal, “The Best Ways to Keep Hospital Patients Safe,” Dan Witters, Jim Harter, Sangeeta Agrawal, and Kirti Kanitkar, June 13, 2013

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