Top 5 outpatient care risks to know

Rachel Popa - Print  |

The ECRI Institute, a nonprofit patient safety organization, released its report detailing the biggest risks patients face in ambulatory care, highlighting the areas clinicians should pay attention to.

The ECRI Institute analyzed 4,355 adverse events reported by ambulatory care practices, physician practices and community health centers between December 2017 and November 2018.

The organization found diagnostic testing errors were the most common adverse event, comprising half of the events studied. Specifically, nine out of 10 diagnostic errors were attributed to laboratory and imaging tests, including conducting excessive or unnecessary tests. ECRI Institute recommended providing decision support tools to providers to reduce testing errors.

Medication errors were the second most common errors for ambulatory patients. Adverse events involving medication include giving the patient the wrong drug, giving the patient too much of a drug or giving drugs to the wrong patient. Creating medication management procedures and determining how to handle safety events can help mitigate medication errors.

Falls, HIPAA violations and safety events like disruptive patient behavior were also adverse events the ERCI Institute analyzed. The majority of security and safety events involved verbal threats made by patients and visitors. The organization said training staff on what to do during a violent incident can help de-escalate the situation.

"As healthcare delivery shifts from hospitals to ambulatory care settings, it can be challenging to coordinate care among various clinicians, systems, and facilities, raising the potential for errors that put patients at risk,” said Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD, president and CEO of ECRI Institute. "Reducing and eliminating adverse events in an outpatient environment will require an unprecedented commitment to collaboration and coordination."

Read more here.

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