ECRI Blog

To Reduce Malpractice Claims Improve Communication

Posted by Edward Nuber, Director of Marketing, ECRI on Feb 11, 2022

"Communication failures cost 1.5 times as much as claims without communication failures, and were more than twice as likely to result in a payout of more than $1 million," the Journal of Patient Safety study noted.

Roughly 20,000 malpractice claims are filed annually in the U.S. alone, and half of all physicians will be sued sometime during the course of a career. During the pandemic, lower numbers of claims were reported from some institutions, but others, such as those in aging services, continue to face this challenge without relief. And even with some reduction in occurrences, malpractice insurance rates continue to rise. Most importantly, claims are tied to patient care and safety, the metric most important to those who work tirelessly to provide care during what is now the third trying year of this pandemic.

Newly published information reveals ineffective and non-existent communication as significant threats to patient safety. You might ask, “How can communication be such a problem when we work closely together, huddle, and meet often?” It’s a oversimplified example, but we all remember the childhood game of “whisper down the lane,” where the original message never matched the message received by the last person in the line.” Communication can be incomplete, misinterpreted, or flat-out incorrect. The good news is, there are ways to improve communications and subsequently improve patient safety and reduce medical malpractice claims.

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Topics: Risk Management, Patient Safety, Aging/Continuum of Care, COVID-19, Aging Services, Clinical Excellence, ECRI, Value-based care, Leadership

Vaccination: For Your Residents, Your Family, Your Friends, and Yourself

All who have cared for our nation’s older adults through the COVID-19 pandemic have given so much; the toll in lives lost, illness, and financial and economic impacts have been great for those we serve, all aspects of the workforce, and provider organizations alike. But the care-critical work is not over.

As the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery efforts continue worldwide, in our nation, and specifically in the aging services sector it is more important than ever that providers continue efforts to prevent harm to residents, staff, and healthcare partners who care for older adults, and their families and loved ones.

Data from Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Vaccine Needs Assessment Survey, as shared by the Pennsylvania Department of Health on April 1, 2021, indicates the same trends that other U.S. studies also suggest: a statistically significant lag in COVID-19 vaccination acceptance rates in staff and contractors working in the aging services sector compared to the vaccination acceptance rates of the residents they serve and care for.

Sam Vic Rose Blog 4 23 21
 
“On March 16, 2021 the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued an order requiring skilled nursing facilities to complete the COVID-19 vaccine needs assessment survey.”
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Topics: Patient Safety, Aging/Continuum of Care, Aging Services

Mandatory Staff Vaccinations: Short-Term Benefits vs. Potential Unintended Consequences

With several vaccines against COVID-19 already available through emergency use authorization (EUA), others potentially on the way, and a nationwide vaccination campaign to administer the vaccine to as many people as quickly possible, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transition to new phases. And yet with new hope comes new challenges and emerging risks as organizations work to safely care for older adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skilled nursing facilities that conducted at least one vaccine clinic during the first month of roll-out administered a first shot to a median of 77.8% of their residents and 37.5% of their staff. As the agency points out, the moderately high coverage among residents is counterbalanced by relatively low coverage among staff.

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Topics: Patient Safety, Aging/Continuum of Care, Aging Services

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