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Twenty-one percent dissatisfied with hospital safety pre-COVID

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | May 12, 2020
MINNEAPOLIS – May 19, 2020 – VigiLanz, a clinical surveillance company, today announced findings from a new survey of 100 hospital and health system leaders on hospital safety challenges and improvements. With unintended harm occurring in one-third of hospital admissions,[i] and medical errors being the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer,[ii] the survey aimed to take stock of current hospital safety practices.

Conducted in February 2020 by Sage Growth Partners, a healthcare consultancy, the independent survey asked c-suite executives, physicians, nurses, infection preventionists, pharmacists, and more about their top patient safety challenges, where the most safety improvements are occurring, if technology is enhancing patient safety, and which patient-safety improvement approaches are most successful.

The full results were published in VigiLanz's Hospital Safety Report 2020.

Key findings include:

Nearly one quarter of respondents are unhappy with their organization's safety performance; more than a quarter say they are less confident about hospital safety than the typical consumer

Twenty-one percent said they were very or moderately dissatisfied with their hospital's safety performance in 2019. An equal amount reported being very satisfied; 58% said they were satisfied.
About a quarter (29%) said they are less confident about hospital safety than the typical consumer; 43% said they are more confident, and 28% said they feel about the same as a typical consumer.
More than one-third (39%) said communication errors play the biggest role in contributing to safety problems at hospitals; 30% said staffing/burnout. About a quarter (24%) cited disparate EHRs/poor interoperability/lack of actionable data at the point of care as the biggest safety issue; 2% said poor hand hygiene, and 5% said other.

Medication errors top hospitals' safety challenges, but 40% of respondents say error rates are decreasing

When asked to identify the top safety problems within hospitals, 28% percent of respondents selected medication errors.
Other responses included hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) (26%), failure to report safety events in a timely manner (18%), antibiotic overuse/nonoptimal use (12%), falls (11%), opioid over-prescribing/misuse/abuse (3%), and other (2%).
However, 40% said medication error rates have fallen at their hospitals in the past year; only 11% said they increased, and 49% said they stayed the same.
Only 57% of respondents are receiving real-time alerts related to medication errors/potential errors.

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