Patient Safety Awareness Week is a time for healthcare teams to stop and reassess.

Patient Safety Awareness Week

When it Comes to Patient Safety, Innovation Helps Save Lives

Healthcare teams continually study and reinvent themselves, and Patient Safety Awareness Week — established by IHI and held March 13-19 — is an especially good time to highlight those efforts.

Although there has been much progress made in patient safety over the past two decades, current estimates cite medical harm as a leading cause of death worldwide, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

It is for this reason that healthcare teams continually study and reinvent themselves, and Patient Safety Awareness Week — established by IHI and held March 13-19 — is an especially good time to highlight those efforts.

When Can Cartoons Save Lives?

A South Carolina Hospital  has devised a way to improve safety compliance through emojitoons — short emoji cartoons, of actual employees, that send safety reminders to staff.

Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, says compliance on key infection prevention and control practices has increased by up to 50 percent since they started using the emojitoons starring their very own employees, according to a recent Infection Control Today story.

The idea’s inventors say it works because it enables healthcare workers to absorb small amounts of information at once, making it easier to retain. Seeing avatars of people they know keeps the learning fun.

Among the topics that the hospital features in emojitoons are the importance of using green clips for IVs, covering linens to keep them clean, and labeling IVs.

The duo of infection prevention (IP) leaders who devised them are considering publishing a book to help others.

How Do Single-Use Endoscopes Enhance Patient Safety?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has weighed in on the power of single-use endoscopes to keep patients safe, and hospitals are listening.

In June 2021, the FDA updated a safety communication on reprocessing flexible bronchoscopes and recommended that healthcare providers consider using single-use bronchoscopes when there is increased risk of spreading infection and when there is “no support for immediate reprocessing.”

A few months earlier, in April 2021, the FDA had announced an investigation of medical device reports (MDRs) that described patient infections and other possible contamination issues possible associated with reprocessed urological endoscopes.

That same agency updated its recommendation regarding duodenoscopes in Aug. 2020 to say that manufacturers and healthcare facilities transition to types of duodenoscopes that pose less risk to patient. Those include fully disposable versions, such as those offered by Ambu A/S and Boston Scientific Corp.

Single-use endoscopes can reduce contamination and disease transmission.

5 Top Safety Issues for Hospitals to Address in 2022

Becker’s Hospital Review identified five of the most pressing safety issues for hospitals and health systems to address in 2022, covering topics from how to manage healthcare-associated infections to support for healthcare workers.

According to a 2021 report from the Leapfrog Group, hospitals' safety cultures declined amid the pandemic, and healthcare workers reported being uncomfortable speaking up about potential errors, Becker’s wrote.

More Infection Prevention Articles
Endoscope-Related Infection: A Look to the Future
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Exogenous infections relating to contaminated endoscopes have been historically difficult to quantify. A recent systematic review offers a look at potential solutions to reducing the risk of patient infection from cross-contamination.
PPE in Reprocessing: Vital for Safety and Eliminating Endoscope Contaminants
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Endoscope reprocessing involves a complicated series of between 50 and 100 steps depending on the device instructions for use and society guidelines adopted by the institution. Among the dozens of steps needed are several PPE changes to protect the integrity of the cleaning process.
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