The patient Safety Improvement Act of 2020 is the US’s freshly implemented patient safety law that centralizes to improve and support state-based health quality enhancement efforts. Additionally, the Act concerns itself with the encouragement of voluntary and confidential reporting of occasions that detrimentally impact patients. Within this newly updated Act, pediatric patients are also considered, with the focus being channeled towards establishing a culture of safety among these patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings (SB 3380. 116th Congress, 2020). Bukoh and Siah (2020) argue that lack of quality and systemized handovers fall among the top causes of adverse effects during patient care (Walton H, Munro W. (2015), and it is preventable. With quality handover, it means desirable transferring of patients between healthcare locations, clinicians, of distinct levels of care occurring in the occurring location. Hence, the Act aimed at rethinking the concept of culture of safety in healthcare that, despite the intrinsically complex procedures or practices taking place in a patient healthcare sphere, reliability, and quality of the outcome must be kept constant.
While the transfer of a patient from one setting to another occurs, the validity and reliability of the accompanying patient information are vital. Poorly perceived safety culture, which is directly associated with unreliable patient information from one care unit to the other, is strongly linked to increased errors during care delivery.
Some of the changes that have been evident due to the Act are active and effective communication entirely prevailing among the healthcare practitioners engaging in handovers and systematic information keeping free from human error. Initially, communication breakdown during periodical patient care that involves a number of physicians, healthcare facilities (referral care services), and healthcare units, such as from emergency care to surgical care, is the leading root cause of sentinel events in US hospital care. However, today, active communication is encouraging among all healthcare practitioners, units, and facilities to ensure proper understanding of the newly assigned physicians about the previous condition of the patient so that they can engage in proper care procedures lining with the previous ones. Also, systems such as computers are used to reserve patient information to avoid errors during the handover of the information. However, this information is frequently updated as the care proceeds.
Technological adoption in patient safety has been evident with the increased use of Electronic Health Records (EHR). EHR in healthcare intensively aids inpatient data sharing, testing, or comparing results, among other informational activities happening in the hospital across different departments and units (Ogbonna et al., 2020). The use of this technology has become a powerful determinant of the efficient delivery of healthcare services in all hospitals. Through it, technology has been shown as a valuable tool in upholding patient culture safety.
However, EHR has been associated with several ethical concerns despite its continued and accepted use in healthcare. Privacy and confidentiality, security gaps, system implementation, and data inaccuracies are the four potential issues associated with EHR adoption. Today issues of cyber security are elevating with increased cases of data breaches. One of the highly upheld values in healthcare is the patient’s confidentiality. While these systems are computer-based, they can be easily hacked, leaking the stored patient data, thus violating one of the most respected patients’ rights to confidentiality (Cower et al., 2017). Also, times systems misbehave, and this can lead to the transfer of wrong patient information, attracting potential care errors that directly harm the patient. The most probable way to counter these issues is by, for data breaches, highly encrypting the EHR systems to make it impossible for hacking. While for inaccuracies, the systems must be subjected to regular updating and as well as updating the patient information as the treatment proceeds.
Bukoh, M. X., & Siah, C. J. R. (2020). A systematic review on the structured handover interventions between nurses in improving patient safety outcomes. Journal of nursing management, 28(3), 744-755. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jonm.12936
Cowie, M. R., Blomster, J. I., Curtis, L. H., Duclaux, S., Ford, I., Fritz, F., … & Zalewski, A. (2017). Electronic health records to facilitate clinical research. Clinical Research in Cardiology, 106(1), 1-9. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00392-016-1025-6
Ogbonna, M. A., Oluwafemi, O. M., & Ojo, P. O. (2020). ACCEPTANCE AND BARRIER OF ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS IN A TERTIARY HOSPITAL IN NIGERIA. European Journal of Social Sciences Studies, 5(6). https://www.oapub.org/soc/index.php/EJSSS/article/download/960/1545
SB 3380. 116th Congress (2020). https://psnet.ahrq.gov/issue/patient-safety-improvement-act-2020
Walton H, Munro W. (2015). Improving the quality of handover by addressing handover culture and introducing a new, multi-disciplinary, team-based handover meetingBMJ Open Quality 2015;4:u206069.w2989. doi: 10.1136/bmjquality.u206069.w2989. https://bmjopenquality.bmj.com/content/4/1/u206069.w2989.citation-tools