The Joint Commission International has established International Patient Safety Goals (IPSGs) to help accredited organisations address specific areas of concern where issues related to patient safety are often encountered. These goals highlight a variety of pertinent topics related to patient safety including identifying patients correctly, improving effective communication, improving safety around high-alert medications and reducing the risks of harm and infections. Developed by global policymakers, these goals serve as a holistic and comprehensive approach to patient safety. Understanding the issues addressed by each of the IPSGs and their solutions will go a long way to engage and protect patients, as well as improve outcomes for millions of patients. To help you in your organisation’s patient safety efforts, we have put together a guide to each goal and how the RLDatix software can help.
Goal 1: Identify patients correctly.
It’s critical that frontline staff have tools to help them correctly identify patients, so they can administer proper care to the correct individual. If staff cannot identify patients correctly, they risk administering care that could potentially cause harm to patients. To help staff accurately record important information about patients who have been involved in an incident, the RLDatix software can easily integrate with an organisation’s Patient Administration System (PAS). This helps ensure that information about the patient is secure and helps eliminate chance of error or linking to the incorrect patient.
Goal 2: Improve effective communication.
The second IPSG goal focuses on an organisation’s communication efforts. It is important for healthcare organisations to adopt tools and programs that improve communication across teams. Strong communication efforts help staff practice collaboration needed to deliver safe and effective care to patients. Additionally, promoting effective communication across a healthcare organisation equips staff with valuable communication tools needed when delivering care. Effective communication not only streamlines organisational processes but also contributes to a culture of safety and openness. The Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) toolkit empowers organisations to practice compassionate communication with patients, families and staff following an adverse event.
The RLDatix suite of solutions serve as tools to promote effective communication across an organisation. When adverse events take place, this information must be properly documented and communicated. With RLDatix, staff can easily capture and submit incident reports directly from the system, empowering the organisation to learn from the event and take proper measures to prevent it from occurring again.
Feedback also serves as a channel to promote effective communication. Healthcare organisations should have systems in place to hear directly from patients and key stakeholders on what is going well and areas for improvement. RLDatix equips healthcare organisations with a tool to standardise the process for managing all feedback records. This system promotes effective communication and allows organisations to identify trends to improve safety initiatives and visibility around how feedback can help support organisation-wide quality improvement. Feedback within the RLDatix system can be utilised to identify areas for improvement and ultimately help update policies or create new ones. Keeping policies up to date, accessible and organised are key components in driving effective communication across an organisation. RLDatix PolicyStat allows staff to stay updated on the status of all policies through robust approval workflows that reduce risks and eliminate surprises with automated review and approval processes. Through automated acknowledgement notifications, organisations can feel confident that staff have received and reviewed updated policy information.
Goal 3: Improve the safety of high-alert medications.
An estimated 3 million medication errors are made in Irish hospitals per year, one per patient, per day according to a report by the Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA). High-alert medications can pose significant risk to patients, making it critical for organisations to utilise tools that promote safety around these types of medications. Using the RLDatix software, organisations can easily disseminate a variety of safety alerts including those related to high-alert medications. The RLDatix Safety Alerts module serves as a centralised hub for the distribution of safety alerts, standards and actions taken in response, promoting organisation-wide awareness and learning. Within the software, staff can easily track distribution of medication and review results in real-time, giving organisations confidence that safety alerts are acted upon.
To gain a better understanding of high-alert medications across an organisation, a business intelligence tool (BI) offers the ability to practice comprehensive and analytical tracking of these medications. Using a BI tool allows the identification of key trends across multiple systems, promoting more unified quality improvement processes. Additionally, as staff are handling high-alert medications, having easy access to policy information while caring for patients and managing these medications contributes to the delivery of safe care. RLDatix’s policy management module serves as an easy-to-search, centralised repository for an organisation’s policy content. For example, if the handling of a specific medication requires staff to adhere to specific guidelines that protect patients and providers, staff should be able to easily access that policy information. Built with a powerful search engine, using RLDatix, staff can easily retrieve important information at the point of care.
Goal 4: Ensure safe surgery.
JCI’s fourth patient safety goal highlights the importance of ensuring safe surgery for all patients. Whether performing routine or extensive surgery operations, medical professionals must be equipped with tools to help them promote safety in all surgery settings. Using RLDatix’s Safety Learning module, learnings and information can be shared to promote quality improvement across the organisation. Within an RLDatix incident or feedback record, staff can easily link to an existing safety learning, supporting the triangulation of data. Safety learnings also allow organisations to highlight and learn from areas of excellence across the organisation to improve future trainings.
Following a surgery, if a mortality was to occur, the RLDatix Mortality Review module serves as a centralised system to house all mortality information, supporting healthcare organisations in identifying care improvements. If an incident or near miss occurs during a surgery, staff can easily record this information within RLDatix, empowering staff to report harm events, so the organisation can work to build a culture of safety. Additionally, mortalities can be linked to incident reports within the system, creating transparency of data and streamlining the process of identifying areas of improvement. When organisations implement an enterprise risk management (ERM) system, they support a culture of safety by proactively addressing and responding to safety issues.
Goal 5: Reduce the risk of health care-associated infections.
In light of COVID-19, it has become increasingly important for healthcare organisations to adopt practices and tools that mitigate the risk of health care-associated infections (HAIs). Many organisations are shifting their patient safety efforts to focus on getting ahead of potential outbreaks. RLDatix supports organisations in these efforts by enabling them to use data to better manage outbreaks, improve hand hygiene, track patients and meet reporting regulations.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) hand hygiene plays an important role in the transmission of COVID-19. To help prevent the spread of HAIs, frontline staff should have easy access to their organisation’s hygiene policies. With RLDatix, this information is easy to search and reference, supporting staff in efficiently delivering safe care practices. As healthcare organisations adopt to challenges brought on by COVID-19, it’s important that they can quickly and efficiently communicate policy updates to care teams. The RLDatix software is built with powerful acknowledgement capabilities that allow organisations to initiate and track policy reviews to help ensure that staff have read and signed off on changes made to policies.
Goal 6: Reduce the risk of patient harm resulting from falls.
The JCI’s final patient safety goal addresses harm that results from patient falls. In England, falls in hospitals are the top reported patient safety incident with 240,000 reported falls in acute hospitals and mental health trusts in England and Wales. Using an enterprise risk management software, such as RLDatix, supports healthcare organisations in their fall prevention efforts with tools that drive policy management, incident reporting and business intelligence. Policy and procedures help support a variety of patient safety efforts within a healthcare organisation. While these important documents help streamline day-to-day organisational operations, policies and procedures also help frontline staff stay up-to-date on safety measures across the organisation. With RLDatix, when frontline staff are taking care of a patient who is a fall risk, they can easily access the organisation’s policy on how to properly assist the patient to support their safety. If a fall or near miss takes place, staff can easily capture the event data directly in the system in a standardised way with customisable forms. If a healthcare organisation wants to gain comprehensive data and trends around falls across the entire organisation, the RLDatix Business Intelligence tool can help identify this data collected across DCIQ modules.
Achieve your patient safety goals with RLDatix
As healthcare organisations continue to navigate unfolding industry challenges and opportunities, the JCI’s International Patient Safety goals outline clear steps that organisations can take to help promote patient safety in all care settings. The RLDatix software serves as a key tool to support healthcare organisations as they strive to achieve these patient safety goals. Encompassing easy capture of event data, structured reporting processes around feedback, streamlined policy and procedure management and automated safety alerts, RLDatix seeks to help organisations promote a culture of safety for patients, families and care teams.