In the pursuit of delivering high-quality healthcare, patient safety stands as a paramount concern. The Joint Commission, a leading healthcare accreditation and certification organization, has outlined Seven National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) to guide hospitals in their commitment to providing safe and effective care. These goals, updated periodically to align with emerging healthcare challenges, represent a comprehensive framework for enhancing patient safety across diverse healthcare settings, helping prevent any medical malpractice from occurring.

1. Identify Patients Correctly

One of the foundational elements of patient safety is accurate patient identification. Hospitals are tasked with implementing processes to ensure the correct patient is consistently matched to the intended care. This involves utilizing two patient identifiers, such as name and birthdate, and employing technology to minimize errors in identification.

2. Improve Effective Communication

Clear and effective communication is pivotal in preventing errors and enhancing patient safety. Healthcare providers must establish standardized approaches to communication, especially during critical transitions of care. This goal emphasizes the importance of clear information exchange among healthcare teams, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and potential harm to patients.

3. Improve the Safety of High-Alert Medications

Medication safety is a central aspect of patient well-being. Hospitals are urged to prioritize the safety of high-alert medications, which are prone to causing significant patient harm when misused. Robust protocols, education, and vigilant monitoring are essential components in mitigating the risks associated with these medications.

4. Reduce Patient Harm Associated with Clinical Alarm Systems

This goal emphasizes the need to reduce the risk of patient harm resulting from alarm-related issues. Clinical alarm systems serve the crucial purpose of alerting caregivers to potential patient issues. However, if not effectively managed, they have the potential to jeopardize patient safety. Hospitals are called upon to establish protocols for effective alarm management, ensuring that alarms are accurate, responded to promptly, and contribute to improved patient outcomes.

5. Reduce the Risk of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)

Preventing healthcare-associated infections is a critical objective in patient safety. Hospitals must implement evidence-based practices to reduce the risk of infections related to healthcare interventions. This involves meticulous attention to hygiene, the appropriate use of antimicrobials, and continuous monitoring of infection rates.

6. Identify Safety Risks Inherent in the Patient Population

Hospitals should take proactive measures to mitigate suicide risk, especially for high-risk patients. Minimizing the likelihood of suicide can be done by performing a thorough environmental risk assessment to identify potential features in the physical surroundings that might be used for suicide attempts. For example, eliminating objects that could pose a threat for self-harm, scrutinizing items brought into patient rooms by visitors, adhering to secure transportation procedures when transferring patients to different hospital areas, and implementing one-to-one monitoring.

7. Improve Health Care Equity

While healthcare disparities are frequently perceived through the prism of social injustice, they fundamentally represent a challenge in the quality of care. Similar to issues like medication errors, healthcare-acquired infections, and falls, addressing health care disparities requires a thorough examination of root causes and the implementation of targeted interventions. Establishing leaders and standardized structures and processes is essential for organizations to identify and tackle health care disparities effectively. It is crucial to fully integrate these efforts into existing quality improvement activities within the organization, encompassing areas such as infection prevention and control, antibiotic stewardship, and workplace violence. This approach ensures a comprehensive and cohesive strategy to address health care disparities as part of broader quality enhancement initiatives.