A little over a month ago, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a report recommending several interventions for health care organizations to implement in order to improve patient safety.
- Improve hand hygiene compliance
- Use barrier precautions to stop the spread of infection
- Implement care bundles to prevent central-line associated bloodstream infections
- Use real-time ultrasonography (ultrasound) when placing central lines
- Use protocols to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Employ preoperative checklists to reduce surgical complications
- Improve venous thromboembolism prophylaxis
- Use preventative intervention care bundles to cut rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia
- Avoid hazardous drug abbreviations
- Use multicomponent interventions to prevent pressure ulcers.
Sound familar? They should – that’s because many of these strategies are common sense (like washing your hands to reduce the spread of infection) or are already in place in many hospitals. However, AHRQ notes that the implementation of these interventions varies significantly and is far from universal – both within any one hospital as well as across hospitals. The report, published in March, strongly encourages that these interventions be implemented within the next 3 years.
But what isnt highlighted is the failure of a uniform policy to direct attention to these interventions from every health care institution. Once again, the fragmented nature of our nation’s medical system impedes the universal implementation of these guidelines.