Patient Safety Risks

Patient Safety Risks


PatientSafety Risks

PatientSafety Risks

Healthcare systems are structured, specialized and designed social systemcreated to offer health care services by highly trained workforce toa particular populations, markets or communities. There are differenttypes ranging from facilities that give tests, therapy,rehabilitation and treatment (Matlow, &amp Laxer, 2006). Thisfacilities include the access to healthcare, emergency preparedness,cost effective care, diagnostic related grouping, Nursing caredelivery systems, primary, secondary and tertiary care and allocationof resources/source utilization. These health care organizations arefurther classified as either privately or publicly owned, thehealthcare systems owned by the public are usually government, taxsupported from state, county or federal medical treatment healthcarecenters (Matlow, &amp Laxer, 2006) .

Onthe other hand, privately owned health care facilities operate ontheir own without the support from the government but rely on fundingreceived from patients and its insurance policies (Vincent, 2010). Inaddition, the health care systems can be categorized according totheir financial classification as profit or non-profit makingfacilities (Vincent, 2010). Both the facilities generate revenues inthe process of delivering its services to the patients. But thedifference arises due to their regulatory rules which vary and themanner in which its funds are utilized and dispersed (Vincent, 2010).

Thereare two groups of patients, those who suffer from chronic illnessesand those with acute illnesses. Patients experiencing chronicdiseases are placed under a specialized care known as chronic carethis medical attention offers an appropriate care that deal with thelong-term illness (National Patient Safety Foundation (U.S., 2005).Chronic medical conditions include diabetes, congestive heartdisease, depression and hypertension. When this chronic ailments arenot addressed well it may result into a terminal disability. Patientswith chronic diseases have increased in the recent past which isattributed to an improved patients care (National Patient SafetyFoundation (U.S., 2005). The care of patients under this category hassignificantly improved, conditions caused by injuries and the fataldiseases have been pacified by an effective treatment under thechronic care.

Onthe other hand, patients suffering from acute illnesses are placedunder acute care. These illnesses are short term or a severe illnessthat takes short period of time (National Patient Safety Foundation(U.S., 2005). The care for acute complications is discharged by thespecialized teams of healthcare professionals in different healthcarefacilities (National Patient Safety Foundation (U.S., 2005). Patientssuffering from acute conditions can stay in an ambulatory surgerycenter, hospital emergency department or follow-up outpatient care inthe community. Of the two groups of patients, the care for chronicpatients is risky and challenging compared to care for patientssuffering from acute illnesses. The chronic care targets to keep thepatient’s wellness by maintaining symptoms at the same timestriking a balance of following treatment regimes and patient’squality of life (National Patient Safety Foundation (U.S., 2005).

Inthe process of delivering there services the healthcare facilitiesface several challenges. Patient safety is the main focus of thesehealth care centers. The implementation of patient safety initiativesis a major challenge facing the healthcare organization (NationalPatient Safety Foundation (U.S., 2005). One of the major patientsafety risks is medical reconciliation. It occurs usually to thepatients undergoing chronic care services in the healthcarefacilities. These patients are under multiple medications, whichgive rise to complexity managing the medications administered.

Coupledwith the large number of patients receiving long term care, thespecialized health care professionals face a medical reconciliationsafety risk (Kalra, 2011). The clinicians ought to make appropriateadministration of medications to the patients, by comparing themedication the patient is expected to use with the medicationcurrently prescribed for the patient and in the process address anyarising discrepancies. The healthcare system recognizes that medicalreconciliation pose a major challenge (Kalra, 2011). In order toprovide effective medical reconciliation, a clear understandingshould be grasped of what was prescribed to the patient and currentmedication the patient is taking.

Owingto a large number of patients under a long term care in a particularhealthcare facility, the clinicians face difficulty obtainingcomplete medical information for each patient, and therefore, willhave to rely on the ability of the patient to give this information.Therein, lays a safety risk, in that the patients might giveinaccurate medication information. To address these discrepancies,the health care centers have developed improved databases that arecentralized, which facilitate accurate collection and prescription ofmedical information (Matlow, &amp Laxer, 2006). But few healthcarecenters have adopted the program while several others have yet toinstall the systems.

Thecauses of the medical reconciliation safety risk are the humanfactors and the health centers errors. Clinicians responsible toadminister medications to the patients do not keep records of thepatient’s treatment history. This will lead to failure tounderstand what was prescribed to the patient and thus gives wrongprescriptions (Matlow, &amp Laxer, 2006). They rely on patientability to give the medication history this approach is prone toerrors because the patient may willingly withhold importantinformation crucial for the treatment process hence putting thepatient health at risk. On the other hand, the system errors in thehealth care centers lead to wrong patients’ medical records therebyfurther complicates medical reconciliation.

Thehealth care centers must learn from high reliability organizations toeffectively address medical reconciliations safety concerns. Thisfosters coordination of information during transitions in care in theorganization and outside, communication with other providers andpatient education (Vincent, 2010). Proper patient care should beadhered to through adoption of modern database systems that keepsaccurate records of the patients’ medication this willsignificantly reduce the safety risk, because the accurate medicalinformation helps the clinicians when planning treatment, servicesand care for the patients.

Constanteducation programs should be done for the patients to lower thenegative outcome associated with medical discrepancies (NationalPatient Safety Foundation (U.S., 2005). It makes the patientsappreciate the fact that they are the main custodians for their ownhealth. Therefore, keeping records of their medical history will go along way to offer them effective form of treatment. When they assistthe clinician by providing accurate information, medicalreconciliation is done accurately and therefore resolves cases ofomissions, interaction, duplications and the need to continue withthe current medications (National Patient Safety Foundation (U.S.,2005). On the other hand, the family members of the patients shouldbe involved. They are to take part also by teaching them theimportance of keeping records of medical history. When need be, theythemselves can assist the patient keep those records on their behalf.


Matlow,A., &amp Laxer, R. M. (2006). Patient safety. Philadelphia, PA:Saunders.

Vincent,C. (2010). Patient safety. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

NationalPatient Safety Foundation (U.S.). (2005). Journal of patient safety.Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams &amp Wilkins.

Kalra,J. (2011). Medical errors and patient safety: Strategies to reduceand disclose medical errors and improve patient safety. Berlin: DeGruyter.