Top patient safety concerns of 2020

Missed and delayed diagnosis is the top patient safety concern of 2020, according to a new list from ECRI.

The top 10 list, which is based on votes from patient safety experts, can help healthcare providers and other industry entities conduct safety discussion and set priorities for the year. Organizations can determine if they also face the same concerns and address risks t improve patient care.

The list was prepared before the outbreak of the new coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, and ECRI made note that the disease is “clearly among the top patient safety concerns of the year.” However, the list does not contain COVID-19 as a top concern. The notification by ECRI comes just after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic and President Trump suspended travel from European countries for certain individuals for 30 days.

Here is the top 10 patient safety concerns list for 2020:

  1. Missed and delayed diagnosis
  2. Maternal health across the continuum
  3. Early recognition of behavioral needs
  4. Responding to and learning from device problems
  5. Device cleaning, disinfection and sterilization
  6. Standardizing patient safety across the system
  7. Patient matching in the electronic health record
  8. Antimicrobial stewardship
  9. Overrides of automated dispensing cabinets
  10. Fragmentation across care settings

Missed and delayed diagnosis was ranked the No. 1 patient safety concern because patient might not get treatments they need “when they need it,” according to ECRI’s report. Without proper treatment, conditions can worsen, harming outcomes and increasing medical care costs.

Maternal health was also ranked high on the list for 2020. That’s because recent CDC data shows that more than 700 women die annually in the U.S. due to childbirth-related complications. What’s worse, more than half these deaths are preventable, and the U.S. has the highest maternal death rate among the world’s developed countries, the report reads.

Address behavioral health needs is a top concern because healthcare workers tend to face move violence than any other industry. Understanding and addressing behavioral health needs early can prevent healthcare workers from seeing aggressive behavior in patients.

See the full report here.