HFAP implements new patient safety standards

Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program developed new patient safety standards that are endorsed by the National Quality Forum.
By: Ginny Richardson Public Relations
April 27, 2010 - PRLog -- This year, Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), based in Chicago, IL, developed new patient safety standards that are endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF). According to the NQF, the four elements needed to create and sustain a patient safety culture are:

•   Leadership must ensure structures are in place for organization-wide awareness and compliance with safety measures including adequate resources and direct accountability.
•   Measurement, analysis, and feedback must track safety and allow for interventions.
•   Team-based patient care with adequate training and performance improvement activities must be organization-wide.
•   Safety risks must be identified continuously and interventions taken to reduce patient risk.

The best place for a hospital to embark on the implementation of a patient safety culture is to start with an assessment of their organization with a patient safety culture survey. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) sponsors surveys for assessing patient safety in various healthcare organizations including hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient facilities. Free downloads are available at http://www.ahrq.gov. AHRQ’s surveys are suitable for all levels of staff within an organization.

The patient safety culture is constantly evolving in response to information and technology from internal and external forces. An example of an internal force may be a patient safety initiative chosen from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement such as developing a program to eliminate all hospital acquired bed sores. An external force could be a hospital accreditation agency, such as HFAP, mandating standards for hospital organizations in order to reduce risk and improve patient safety.

Hospitals that have already instituted a program of quality management are in a good position to integrate patient safety concepts within their organizations. The goal of quality management is to look at processes at all levels of the organization and identify opportunities for improvement, and then institute change. Patient safety must be identified as a high priority goal for quality management; the result is patient safety concepts that are automatically integrated throughout the performance improvement activities.

“Placing organizational value on patient safety and quality care is fundamental to the success of any patient safety project,” said Michael Zarski, CEO of HFAP. “Leaders from all levels, from the governing board to the unit department head, must work together to create a climate in which patient safety is a top priority.”

For more information, visit: http://www.hfap.org.

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The Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program is a non-profit, nationally recognized accreditation organization. Its mission is to advance high-quality patient care and safety through objective application of recognized standards.
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