Putting the Patient into Patient Safety
Summary by: Victoria Brazil
Patients are at risk – from the moment they begin their healthcare journey. They are at risk of bad outcomes (as defined by us) and of bad experience (as can only be defined by them).
Patient safety experts like James Reason, and groups like the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) have prompted us to think about systems and complexity as sources of error – and supported strategies to remove predictable human fallibility as far as possible. This is important to make healthcare safer.
Vic Brazil’s talk suggests there is also a human face to patient safety – in the behaviour and attitude of healthcare practitioners and patients themselves…… We think too little of patients. We feel affronted if patient takes a different view of ‘evidence’ or of ‘risk’. …and they think too much of us….! Every day patients allow nurses (and doctors) to inject drugs into their IV line without asking “whats in that syringe”…. This combination of our subconscious paternalism and patients’ blind faith is a heady mix……but ripe for us to make a difference.
Vic suggests there are are small, human ways we can involve patients in safer healthcare, of better quality and with an improved patient experience. We can ask them. We often do involve patient advocates at the ‘strategic end’, but when was the last time you invited a real patient to your departmental teaching or consultant meeting (or smacc conference…!)