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The Evolution of Patient Safety

THE EVOLUTION OF PATIENT SAFETY Primum non nocere is the motto by which all physicians practice. (“First, do no harm.") The focus on patient safety has evolved over the past 2,000 years, from cleanliness and sterilization to single-use surgical instruments to patient information management. Today, that patient information will lead medical providers to make smarter treatment decisions, ultimately resulting in greater patient safety and reduced mortality rates. The Importance of Patient Safety With 98,000 annual deaths, medical errors are the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. Simply adopting health information technology (HIT) could widely reduce risks and save $81 billion annually. = 1,000 deaths 9 = $1 billion The Patient Safety Timeline Pre-20th Century • 130 – Boiled Instruments 200 AD Galen the Greek was 2nd to Hippocrates in fame. As a leader in medicine at the time, he was one of the first to boil medical instruments prior to caring for his patients: wounded Roman gladiators. • 1847 Handwashing and Fingernail Scrubbing It's hard to believe that handwashing was not a common practice until the 1800s, but it took a Hungarian obstetrician named Ignaz Semmelweis to advocate the clinical value of handwashing and fingernail scrubbing. Development of the Germ Theory of Disease 1890s The germ theory of disease (pathogenic theory of medicine) postulates that microorganisms are the source of numerous diseases. The theory itself was tentative at first, but is now a pillar of modern medicine and microbiology. Antibiotics and hygiene practices are all rooted in the study of germs. Turn of the Autoclave 19th Century Autoclaves are found in hospitals and laboratories among other places that need to sterilize tools. Single-use items have become popular so as to avoid the need to autoclave. Some notable examples are of these tools are: Hypodermic needles Needle holders o Forceps Scalpel handles 20th-21st Centuries and Beyond The Development of Health Records 1920s Physicians realized that documenting the history of patients would be very beneficial to both the physician and the patient. Keeping this information readily available made it far easier to treat patients based on their health history. At first, these records were kept on paper. This explains why their managers were referred to as "record librarians." Disposable Syringes 1949 While syringes had been around in one form or another since the 1600s, the disposable syringe was invented centuries later by Arthur E. Smith to prevent the spread of disease between patients. • 1978 Personal Health Records The first mention of a "personal health record" was used in an article by PubMed. Personal health records were meant to provide a more extensive range of historical data about a patient including: Allergies X-Rays Chronic diseases Lab Results Family history Prescriptions Past illness -- Surgeries • Late Electronic Health Record (EHR) 1990s The Electronic Health Record (EHR) reduces error by providing comprehensive info on clients. It includes all of the information above as well as: O Where patients pick up prescriptions O Reminders of important dates concerning patients O Access to patient information from any location Early 2000s Active RFID platform These platforms are based on audio recorded electronic tags verifying the reliability of patient information. There are different options available: O Identification by request of health care personnel using scanners. O Automatic identification upon entry of patient. O Identification through proximity to the patient Hospitals using this system include: O Hospital La Fe in Valencia (Spain) O Wayne Memorial Hospital (USA) O Royal Alexandria Hospital (UK) Today: Complete Safety Medication System This latest system relies on simple bar codes to dispense drugs and could prevent 25% of errors. As technology evolves, doctors are taking steps to ensure that systems do not become 25% obsolete. While medical safety has evolved over time, adopting new technologies can truly take it to the next level. Provided by: SOURCES:

The Evolution of Patient Safety

shared by micahsparacio on Aug 28
A historical look at scientific improvements over the last 2,000 years related to patient safety, lack of which happens to be the 5th leading cause of death in the United States.


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