Hospitals Struggle to Maintain Patient Safety

Although the vast majority of hospital executives and risk managers said their hospital has a "culture of patient safety," more than a third said their hospital would need to undergo major changes to maintain that culture.

Images from AIG infographic.

More and more health care is focusing on strong teamwork to deliver quality patient care; however a new study by AIG revealed that there is a lack of teamwork, resulting in risks to patient safety.

Based on the responses of 250 C-suite executives and 100 risk managers in hospitals across the U.S., “lack of teamwork, negative culture and poor communication” will present barriers to patient safety in the future.

Documentation burdens and the quality of coordination and communication between departments at their hospitals were the two largest issues in their hospital culture. More than half cited the number of patient “handoffs” among hospital staff and more than a quarter of both groups also mentioned that there is a perception nurses fear retribution if they discuss patient safety.

Executives showed a real disconnect in their perception of nurses. While 52% of C-suite executives said nurses “own” patient safety, they said nursing staff turnover was one of the least influential items on overall hospital risk, including patient safety.

Hospital leaders said their number one priority in 2013 is patient safety (slightly more than 60% of both C-suite executives and risk managers), but their number one threat is failing to maximize financial stability. The vast majority (96%) of both groups said their hospital has a “culture of patient safety” and yet more than a third said the hospital would need to undergo major changes to maintain that culture.

“This study is designed to better understand what drives patient safety, the barriers our healthcare system must overcome to achieve it, and what can be done to help keep hospitals safer over the next three to five years,” Russell Johnston, Casualty Product Line Executive, AIG U.S. and Canada, said in a statement.

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