10 urgent patient safety challenges in 2024

While employment for new clinicians was positive in the last year with 96% of new nurses finding work, the issue is transitioning those clinicians from education into bedside and hospital practice, which is the most pressing safety challenge of 2024, according to the ECRI's annual report on patient safety.

"[T]here is growing concern about the difficulty of transitioning new clinicians from education to practice — in the face of several factors exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic," an overview of the report states. "Without sufficient preparation, support, and training, new clinicians can experience loss of confidence, burnout, and reduced mindfulness around culture of safety. The combination of these factors may lead to preventable harm."

The ECRI publishes independent medical device evaluations, annually aggregates scientific literature and patient safety events, concerns reported to or investigated by the organization, and other data sources to create its top 10 report.

Here are the 10 most urgent patient safety challenges facing providers in 2024: 

  1. Challenges transitioning newly trained clinicians from education into practice

  2. Workarounds with barcode medication administration systems

  3. Barriers to access maternal and perinatal care

  4. Unintended consequences of technology adoption

  5. Decline in physical and emotional well-being of healthcare workers

  6. Complexity of preventing diagnostic error

  7. Providing equitable care for people with physical and intellectual disabilities

  8. Delay in care resulting from drug, supply, and equipment shortages

  9. Misuse of parenteral syringes to administer oral liquid medications

  10. Ongoing challenges with preventing patient falls 

Each topic that landed in this year's top 10 "represents a failure in at least one of these areas; in fact, many overlap and their roots are found in multiple areas," the report notes. 

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