March 13, 2019

Diagnostic errors is the top patient-safety concern for 2019, according to ECRI

Daily Briefing

    ECRI Institute just released its annual list of the 10 biggest patient-safety concerns in 2019, with diagnostic errors topping the list for the second year in a row.

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    ECRI is a nonprofit organization that studies how to improve patient care by addressing safety concerns "across the continuum of care," according to the institute. The institute compiled this year's list based on an analysis of over 2.8 million patient safety events that have been collected in institute's database since 2009. ECRI also considers opinions from a panel of internal and external patient safety experts.

    How providers should use the list

    ECRI in their report suggests that health care providers use the list as "a starting point for conducting patient safety discussions and setting priorities." But noted that the list "is not meant to dictate which issues organizations should address."

    In fact, the institute said the list is not designed to highlight the most common or most severe patient safety issues. The report explains, "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 10 patient-safety concerns

    According to ECRI, the top 10 patient-safety concerns for health care organizations for 2019 are:

    1. Diagnostic stewardship and test result management using EHRs;
    2. Antimicrobial stewardship;
    3. Burnout and its impact on patient safety;
    4. Patient safety concerns in mobile health;
    5. Reducing discomfort with behavioral health;
    6. Detection of changes in a patient's condition;
    7. Developing and maintaining skills;
    8. Early recognition of sepsis;
    9. Infections from peripherally inserted IV lines; and
    10. Standardizing safety efforts across large health systems.

    To initiate the discussion on patient safety issues, ECRI recommends that organizations first determine "whether [they] face similar issues" as the concerns on the list and then "develop strategies to address concerns" (ECRI report, 3/11; Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 3/11; Bean, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/11).

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