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March 15, 2018

The 10 biggest patient-safety concerns for 2018, according to ECRI

Daily Briefing

    ECRI Institute has released its annual list of the 10 biggest patient-safety concerns, with diagnostic errors topping the list this year.

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    ECRI is a nonprofit organization that studies how to improve patient care. The institute compiled its list by assessing more than two million patient safety events in the institute's patient safety organization database, as well as by considering opinions from a panel of internal and external patient safety experts.

    How to use—and not to use—this list

    ECRI in their report recommends that the list serve "as a catalyst for discussion about the top patient safety issues faced by your organization," saying that the "list is not meant to dictate which issues provider organizations should address."

    ECRI also explained in the report, "The list does not necessarily represent the issues that occur most frequently or are most severe." They added, "Most organizations already know what their high-frequency, high-severity challenges are. Rather, this list identifies concerns that might be high priorities for other reasons, such as new risks, existing concerns that are changing because of new technology or care delivery models, and persistent issues that need focused attention or pose new opportunities for intervention."

    The list

    According to ECRI, these are the top 10 patient-safety concerns for health care organizations for 2018:

    1. Diagnostic errors;
    2. Opioid safety across the continuum of care;
    3. Internal care coordination;
    4. Workarounds, in which "staff bend work rules to circumvent or temporarily fix a real or perceived barrier or system flaw";
    5. Incorporating health IT into patient safety programs;
    6. Management of behavioral health needs in acute care settings;
    7. All-hazards emergency preparedness;
    8. Device cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization;
    9. Patient engagement and health literacy; and
    10. Leadership engagement in patient safety (Bean, Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control, 3/13; ECRI report).

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