6 Hospital Hazards

6 Hospital Hazards

Timothy Lee, Waterloo Qualicare Franchise owner, discusses hospital hazards.

We put a lot of faith in our healthcare system and rightfully so. Each year, new technology is developed, but not all are as safe as you would think.

ECRI – an independent non-profit agency in the US publishes the Top Health Hazards each year. For 2012, hospital hazards included the following:

  • Alarm fatigue – With so many automated devices each with their own alarm, staff may become desensitized, resulting in delayed action and medical complications.
  • Excessive radiation exposure -Life saving radiation therapy, CT scans and Diagnostic Imaging used inappropriately or excessively raises risks in patients.
  • Pump programming errors -Automated infusion pumps are only as reliable as the information input into them. Typos or illegible handwriting can contribute to errors.
  • Equipment cross-contamination risks - An example is endoscopes, which provide significant benefits but can also require multiple cleaning procedures to ensure patient safety.
  • Medical IT systems - The expanding role of IT in medical care is only as good as the connectivity, reliability and integrity of the systems. As we all know, computers don’t always run as smoothly as promised.
  • Tubing misconnections - It’s not unusual for patients to require multiple tubes to provide nutrients, hydration or medication all supplied from various IV bags. The more complicated the treatment, the greater the risk for human error.

Despite these warnings, I like to keep a balanced perspective.

Some of my best friends are doctors and nurses currently working in hospitals. They know these risks and act accordingly. Just like every time I get into my car, I know the risks and drive accordingly.

Our doctors and our care team weigh the benefits of the treatment against the risks and act accordingly. As a patient, the best approach is to ask questions, stay involved and work with your care providers. It’s important to know the risks but it may be more important to undergo the treatment anyways.

Qualicare Franchise owners will continue to provide insight into the bigger healthcare picture. Qualicare Franchise will continue to update with new articles so keep checking back.