Most effective patient safety strategies identified by AHRQ

AHA News

A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) identifies 22 patient safety strategies that are proven to be effective and provides information on how they work best so they can be adapted to local needs.

The report, which updates a 2001 report called “Making Health Care Safer,” includes reviews of the strength and quality of evidence for 41 patient safety strategies and identifies those that have the strongest evidence of effectiveness.

The reviews include evidence about context, implementation and adoption to help clinicians understand what works, how to apply it and under what circumstances it works best.

AHRQ said the strategies, if widely implemented, could dramatically enhance patient safety and save lives by reducing medication errors, bed sores and healthcare-associated infections.

Of the 22 strategies identified in “Making Health Care Safer II,” 10 are “strongly encouraged” for adoption based on the strength and quality of evidence. They include:

preoperative and anesthesia checklists to reduce operative and postoperative events;

bundles including checklists to reduce septicemia associated with central lines;

catheter reminders, stop orders, nurse-initiated removal protocols and other interventions to limit urinary catheter use;

bundles to prevent ventilatorassociated pneumonia, including head-of-bed elevation, sedation vacations, oral care with chlorhexidine and subglottic suctioning endotracheal tubes;

hand hygiene;

do-not-use list for hazardous abbreviations;

multicomponent interventions to help prevent pressure ulcers;

barrier precautions to reduce healthcare-associated infections;

central line placement guided by real-time ultrasonography; and

strategies to improve venous thromboembolism prophylaxis.

“The team of patient safety experts who put this list together are among the most respected safety experts in the world,” said Nancy Foster, the AHA’s vice president of quality and patient safety policy. “The strategies they have identified are effective, important, and should be on the top of every health care leader’s list for consideration.”

For more on the report, click on:

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy

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