For hospitals, preventing harm to patients is just as important as improving patients’ symptoms. In high-income countries like the United States, about one in every 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care, according to the World Health Organization, and at least 50% of the adverse events causing patient harm are preventable.
In recent years, increasing numbers of hospitals have committed to patient safety in an effort to protect patients and reduce negative health outcomes. Patient safety efforts often involve campaigns to reduce diagnostic errors, unsafe surgical procedures, and infections. But it may come as a surprise that even a hospital’s storage solutions and room layouts can play an outsized role in ensuring patient safety and boosting health outcomes.
Consider three patient safety risks that can be mitigated with appropriate storage solutions and room design.
1 | Medication Errors
Research suggests that on average, hospitalized patients are exposed to at least one medication error per day, and those errors are both expensive and potentially harmful to patients. Research shows that every year, in the U.S. alone, between 7,000–9,000 people die as a result of a medication error.
Hospitals have worked to prevent medication errors by implementing systems such as electronic prescribing. However, specially designed medication carts can also make a difference in reducing medication errors and improving providers’ efficiency.
When a hospital pharmacy dispenses all prescribed medications to one medication room, there’s an inherent risk that nurses and other healthcare providers may mistakenly get the wrong medication or the wrong dosage for a particular patient. Software-enabled medication carts eliminate this issue: These carts contain storage drawers that are secured with digital locks, only accessible by authorized users. The correct, prescribed medicines for each patient can be dosed appropriately and securely loaded into the cart. With integrated software, the carts can track who is accessing each drawer, which medications were given and to which patient. This information helps hospitals keep track of every pill, hold providers accountable and keep patients safer.
Storage Systems Unlimited provides a large selection of medication carts that can increase security and reduce errors, improving patient safety and boosting health outcomes.
2 | Documentation Errors
Documentation errors can cause patient injury or even death. For example, when a provider gives a patient treatment or medication and then leaves the room and fails to document their actions, another provider may come in and provide the same treatment again, leading to an overdose. Failure to document treatments, writing illegibly, using the wrong abbreviations and entering information into the wrong chart are all common—and potentially dangerous—documentation errors.
Implementing the use of mobile workstations, however, can help providers improve efficiency and note-taking at the bedside, which can reduce errors. With a mobile workstation, hospital staffers can access patient information, review electronic health records, and enter new data and information right from the patient’s bedside, rather than returning to a stationary computer and having to try to remember everything they did in the patient’s room.
Storage Systems Unlimited provides a wide array of mobile workstations—or workstations on wheels—that can help healthcare professionals boost efficiencies and avoid documentation errors by completing all documentation at the patient’s bedside.
3| Patient Falls
Each year, between 700,000 and 1 million patients suffer falls while in U.S. hospitals, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. These falls may result in fractures, lacerations or internal bleeding, and can lead to increased utilization of the healthcare system.
Most hospitals take a number of precautions to prevent falls, but one of the most effective ways to prevent falls starts with proactive design. Research shows that patient room design can increase stability during ambulation, serving as a fall protection strategy for frail or elderly patients. For example, the design and layout of IVs, toilets, storage cabinets and other fixtures in a patient room can make a difference in preventing or reducing falls, researchers found.
Storage Systems Unlimited offers comprehensive design and planning services that consider all environmental features to reduce and prevent falls in patient rooms. Whether the hospital is a new construction project or undergoing a renovation, Storage Systems is available to participate in initial planning meetings to discuss the project details, timeline, budget and other considerations. Our team will conduct an on-site review of any existing space and products to determine whether any current products can be reused. We take measurements and pictures and make notes, coming back to the customer with CAD plans showing the placement of all planned products in every department included in the project design.
Storage Systems Unlimited provides a multitude of storage-related products to help hospitals improve patient safety. We also offer preferred pricing, planning, design, installation and project management for healthcare organization and storage systems. Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or visit storagesystemsul.com to learn more or request a quote.