Many industries throughout the United States are highly regulated. As such, they are often required to keep detailed records related to health, safety and accident reports. Additionally, many of the businesses within these industries are subject to stiff penalties and hefty fines if they fail to comply with certain set standards. While such laws and regulations have done much to improve safety and decrease accidents at businesses throughout the U.S., to date few similar safety protocols have been instituted at hospitals around the country.
In a recent study, researchers looked at the voluntary adoption rates of several hospitals with regard to safety standards and technology. While some mandatory safety measures do exist at hospitals, as a whole many health care facilities are responsible for self-reporting and adoption of any health and safety violations or technology.
For the report, researchers looked at the number of hospitals that voluntarily adopted recommended safety measures. The results are telling, showing that when voluntary, only roughly 60 percent of hospitals choose to do so. When compiling data for the report, researchers looked specifically at the hospitals' rates of adopting use of electronic drug order technology and staffing increases. Both of these measures are considered required standards aimed to improve hospital safety.
When examining adoption rates for these measures, researchers found that over the course of a five year period, hospitals made marginal efforts to comply with these recommended safety-improvement measures. The results of the study are telling in proving that when voluntary, many hospitals and health care organizations fail to proactively adopt measures proven to improve overall patient safety.
Each year, thousands of patients are injured as a result of medical mistakes stemming from medication errors and staffing shortages. Hospitals who fail to recognize the importance of making improvements related to these important safety measures are doing their patients and the public at large a disservice and opening themselves up to possible medical negligence lawsuits.
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Source: Healthcare Finance News, "Report shows little improvement in hospitals meeting safety standards, "Kelsey Brimmer, Jan. 18, 2013