Getting good patient care in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office is important. Every year there are millions of individuals in the United States who seek medical help from licensed professionals who strive to provide the best care possible. Medical facilities across the country are endeavoring to improve the way in which quality health care is delivered to patients, and have started adopting best practices that they hope will lead the way in health care reform. These best practices include:
1. Evaluating, researching, and sharing practices that are new and improved. As professionals in the health care industry find new methods for delivering quality patient care, they are encouraged to share their findings so others can adopt these proven methods. Proper patient evaluation can also aid in the process of providing top notch care. A trained eye and listening ear can help in the diagnosis of problems that may have gone unnoticed by a preoccupied practitioner. Having the discipline to treat every encounter with a patient with patience and care improves the overall health care experiences that patients have. Continued research aids in the finding of improved methods for performing the same old procedures. It also ensures that every avenue is explored to find the medical practice that would provide better healing.
2. Using improved practices to reduce the risk of infection from the placement of central lines. Placing a central line, particularly among immune compromised populations can easily lead to infections that are challenging for patients to overcome. New methodology is being researched to improve the way in which central lines are placed so patients are not as susceptible to infection. At a minimum, a central line checklist should be used which outlines various steps that should be taken before and after the line is placed. They might include:
- Documenting the date, and start and end times
- Washing hands before starting the procedure
- Using sterile gloves, a gown, a mask, and a cap for those inserting the line as well as for those assisting
- Placing a full-body sterile drape on the patient
- Skin prep that destroys microorganisms that dwell on the skin (chlorhexidine, etc)
- Properly locating an insertion site
- Ensuring the correct catheter is available
- Learning about special circumstances that need to be taken into consideration
- Using the appropriate dressing
- Completing a follow-up chest x-ray to ensure good placement
- Documenting notes from the procedure
3. Reducing readmissions to hospitals from high risk populations. Infections that are acquired during a hospital stay are the most common cause for hospital readmission. Proper hand washing, using clean linens, and having clean patient rooms can help to drastically reduce the risk of spreading infection throughout the hospital. Keeping a patient as long as he or she needs in order to start overcoming an illness can also reduce readmission rates.
4. Using surgical checklists to ensure safety. All procedures that patients undergo within a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital should have a checklist in order to ensure safety for the patient and documentation for the medical provider. Surgery is no exception. Small details can be forgotten by even the most skilled surgeons without having a checklist to refer to.
As hospitals and clinics strive to improve patient care protocols, the risk of infection and readmission rates decrease significantly. Best practices that are well researched, proven, and shared in the medical community improve the way in which quality health care is delivered.
Lauren Hill takes great pride in writing for American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP), the national association of physicians who provide “concierge medicine”, fee-for-service and other deliveries of direct financial relationships between private physicians and their patients.