Health care is a highly complex error-prone industry, characterized by medical errors, to patient risk. The health facilities which are institutions responsible for ensuring patient safety have realized that preventing catastrophic events which threaten patient safety, requires more than changing systems and implementation of the best health practices like strategic plans. This article, therefore, seeks to examine a strategic plan for patient safety, by assessing the situation in a healthcare setting, the proposed projects which will bring effective change and improvement to the patients, and the stakeholders involved. The article also examines the action plan that might be implemented to achieve patient safety, a comprehensive patient safety program that identifies system and structural failures, and any data which can be collected and analyzed to measure the achievement accomplished by the health facilities about the patient safety.
According to Aspden& Institute of Medicine (2004), patient safety requires health care settings which offer service of acceptable standards and has a culture of safety. The critical feature of the patient safety is premised on a philosophy that supports clinicians, and patient to identify potential and actual errors, and take appropriate measures to prevent and mitigate harm, and also disclose necessary information on errors, to facilitate the redesign of care processes.
In the United States and specifically El Paso in Texas, patient safety has evolved and developed in the context of hospital care. However, most health facilities have experienced patient’s safety problem associated with a substandard performance of health care staff, incompetence, prolonged length of stay of patients in hospitals, and increased medical error. These challenges have drawn the attention of whistleblowers calling for the improvement of basic standards, and a strategic plan which can help improve patient safety through a comprehensive patient safety program that identifies system and structural failures.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (2017), the issue of prolonged length of stay of patients in hospitals is the significant challenge for patient safety El Paso, Texas. The prolonged stay is attributed to the shortage of healthcare staff required to serve a large number of patients visiting numerous health facilities. The nursing shortage has also harmed the ability of health officials to provide safe patient care due to the problem of understaffing. The few available health officials require mandatory overtime and working hours, which increases burnouts. Moreover, health officials serving the highest number of patients experience job dissatisfaction, thus improving safety risks on patients because of its negative impact on healthcare.
According to National Council of State Boards of Nursing (2009), inadequate staffing has compromised the safety of the patients because the few medical personnel’s available, may also not have adequate time to perform other responsibilities carefully, and may not be able to identify life-threatening changes regarding the health conditions of their patients. However, an effective strategic plan can help solve this challenge. Curtis, Ramsden & Lord (2011), posits that there is the need for a strategic plan aimed at addressing staffing issues and attentiveness. The project must illustrate measures like the mandatory overtime and working hours for nurses and health care officials to minimize burnouts, thus helping the nurses perform their duties responsibly and carefully.
The use of health technology is also another measure which should be included in the strategic plan to ensure the safety of patients on the health facilities in Texas-El Paso. The use of health technology and equipment’s will enable the few nursing staff to understand and monitor complications such as the proliferation of new surgeries, interventional radiology, and electrophysiological intervention, therefore increasing response to treatment and addressing patient safety (Curtis, Ramsden & Lord, 2011).
The first step of developing a strategic plan for patient safety is determining the relevant stakeholders who should be involved in the strategic planning process of the Las Palmas medical center. The stakeholders include Rose Weisinger, who is the project facilitator of the facility, local political and community leaders, the health representatives from the federal and Texas state government such as the physician associations, Congress and policymakers, community associations, and educational institutions like universities. The stakeholders such as the Congress, play a vital role in formulating and evaluating strategic plans required to promote patient safety by increasing the credibility of safety efforts like the use of health technology, employing more staff, and supporting policies that ensure quality care (CDC, 2012).
According to the CDC (2012), community associations and advocates can play a significant role in authorizing changes to patient safety programs and recommend specific mechanisms that help protect patient safety. The local and political community leaders and health representatives, participate in the evaluation of a strategic plan through evaluating patient safety programs to meet specific needs. The particular changes include setting the maximum number of working hours in a day for nurses and healthcare officials to reduce burnouts and also championing for more health care funds which can be used to hire more medical staff. Universities, colleges, and medical training institutions offer human capital and labor required to ensure that the patients are served professionally and without delays. The universities may enact plans aimed at training and equipping an adequate number of health and medical staff with skills required to boost the safety of patients.
Outcome statement and Evaluation Plan
The strategic evaluation plan used by the relevant stakeholders should be specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time-bound, to ensure that patients are safe. The evaluation plan must communicate, inform, and educate both staff and patients about their role in ensuring safety. The plan must disclose how the stakeholders intend to employ the practical mechanisms for verification, and other checking systems for high-risk service, and also reconcile the patient medication upon admission, transfer, and discharge (Billings & Halstead, 2016).
The strategic evaluation plan enacted by the stakeholders for patient safety should assess all the risks and incidences that threatens the safety of patients. The evaluation plan must outline the initiatives which the staffs at Las Palmas Medical health facility can use, to respond to the concerns of patients. The program may contain initiatives like customer care service where patients can raise complaints and concerns about the quality of health services offered by the facility (Billings & Halstead, 2016).
Las Palmas health facility must collect data from the communities around the facility about the number of patients visiting the facility each day and the number of healthcare staff serving each patient. The information regarding the ratio of patient to doctor, is crucial in a strategic evaluation plan, to ensure that patient receive quality care in time and also inform the government the need to employ more healthcare staff (Billings & Halstead, 2016).
An effective evaluation strategic plan which has been enacted, evaluated and implemented by all the stakeholders can be useful in helping Las Palmas health Centre ensure that all its patients and staff receive the necessary attention, and their issues are addressed. Measures like the need to increase more healthcare staff, and the need to minimize work burnouts of medical personnel, can only be addressed if all the federal, state and local stakeholders are involved since patient safety requires an integrative approach. Moreover, the use of stakeholders in solving problems, helps Las Palmas health facility solve the problem in time, thus protecting the lives of patients.
Aspden, P., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2004). Patient safety: Achieving a new standard for care. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2016). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty.
CDC (2012). Program Performance and Evaluation Office (PPEO). Introduction to Program Evaluation for public health programs. Retrieved from:https://www.cdc.gov/eval/guide/step1/index.htm
Curtis, K., Ramsden, C., & Lord, B. (2011). Emergency and trauma care for nurses and paramedics. Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier.
Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (2017). Clinical Assessment Program Review of the El Paso VA Health Care System El Paso, Texas. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-16-00578-291.pdf
National Council of State Boards of Nursing, (2009). Nursing Pathways for Patient Safety E-book.