Rhode Island Hospital to invest $1M in training after 4 patient errors in 4 weeks

Providence-based Rhode Island Hospital entered a consent agreement with the state Department of Health after reporting four patient errors in four weeks, the Providence Journal reports. The agreement will result in numerous improvement measures over the next year.

The preventable errors occurred in February and March 2018, according to the consent agreement, which the health department released June 8. In three instances, patients received tests meant for other patients. In another instance, a patient underwent a procedure on an incorrect part of their spine.

"Because of our culture of transparency and our commitment to continuous quality and safety improvement, Rhode Island Hospital reported to the Department of Health that four events occurred in February and March of this year related to various aspects of patient identification and diagnostic imaging procedures," Rhode Island Hospital officials said in a statement. "Each patient and family was informed of the incident and no patient had any complications."

In place of regulatory action for the errors, Rhode Island Hospital will invest at least $1 million in various patient safety improvement efforts outlined in the consent agreement.

"Whenever preventable errors occur in hospital settings, it is essential that we scrutinize those errors carefully and that facilities make the systems changes needed to ensure that they do not occur again," Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, said in a separate statement cited by the Providence Journal.

The hospital launched a plan of corrective action and devoted thousands of staff hours to uncover the causes of the errors, Rhode Island Hospital President Margaret Van Bree, said in an internal memo sent to hospital staff that was released in the hospital's public response.

"Already, 100 percent of the hospital's active radiology department staff has participated in educational forums and shared ideas about improving the delivery of imaging care," Ms. Van Bree wrote.

Ms. Van Bree also said the hospital will "accelerate our ongoing efforts to reduce the variation in our practices" and complete "audits of our processes."

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