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7 Ways Private Equity Hospitals Can Improve Patient Safety

clinician at private equity hospital

Private equity hospitals are a notable trend in healthcare, reshaping medical care by bringing significant capital for efficiency and profitability. While these acquisitions infuse much-needed financial resources, concerns exist about potential impacts on patient care and staff working conditions. Read on to discover practices private equity hospitals can implement to enhance patient safety goals.

The Need for Patient Safety

In December 2023, research was published on changes in patient outcomes associated with private equity hospital acquisitions.

A study revealed a 25% rise in complications among Medicare patients after a private equity acquisition.

In light of these findings, it's crucial for private equity hospitals to review incidents and adopt enhanced patient safety protocols.

1. Include Clinical Staff in Decision Making

Involving clinical staff in decision-making processes significantly improves patient safety in hospitals. This is especially important for private equity hospitals where new management may not be familiar with healthcare protocols and regulations.

Frontline healthcare professionals have extensive firsthand patient care experience and a deep understanding of daily operational challenges. Including these professionals in decision-making ensures practical and effective policies for real patient care scenarios. This inclusive approach leads to the development of more effective safety protocols, as staff members who are directly involved in patient care are more likely to identify potential safety risks and propose realistic, workable solutions.

2. Incident Reporting software

Incident reporting software plays a crucial role in enhancing patient safety in hospitals by providing a systematic and efficient means of recording, tracking, and analyzing safety-related incidents. This technology enables real-time reporting, ensuring healthcare staff and administrators are immediately aware of any issues, facilitating a quicker response to potential hazards.

Incident management software standardizes the reporting process, making it easier to compare and analyze data across different departments or hospitals. This, in turn, guides data-driven decision-making, allowing hospital management to allocate resources more effectively, revise safety protocols, and improve staff training to prevent future incidents.

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3. Increase Transparency

Increasing transparency in hospital operations is vital for improving healthcare worker satisfaction and achieving patient safety goals. This involves openly sharing information about hospital practices, patient outcomes, and safety incidents with all stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, patients, and the public.

According to Forbes, over 80% of workers want a better understanding of how decisions are made at their organization and 87% of job seekers say they look for transparency in a future workplace.

With the unfamiliarity of private equity hospitals to hospital staff, there must be increased transparency for healthcare employees to feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the new changes being made. This openness helps build trust and accountability, essential elements in a healthcare setting. When hospitals are transparent about their performance and safety records, it motivates continuous improvement and adherence to high standards of care.

4. Increase Staffing Numbers

The healthcare staffing shortage is currently one of the largest concerns in the industry, becoming the top concern among healthcare CEOs for the first time in two decades. Increasing staffing numbers in hospitals is a significant factor in enhancing patient safety.

More healthcare professionals on board ensure attentive and personalized care, reducing the chances of mistakes or oversights. Additionally, adequate staffing reduces the workload and stress on each healthcare worker, minimizing the risk of burnout and medical errors due to fatigue or rushed procedures. More staff members also facilitate quicker responses to emergencies and allow for more comprehensive and continuous patient monitoring.

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5. Support a Culture of Safety

Supporting a culture of safety in hospitals fosters an environment where every staff member feels responsible for patient safety. In a safety-oriented culture, staff are encouraged to report errors and near-misses without fear of retribution, leading to a more open, transparent, and proactive approach to identifying and resolving safety issues.

This openness not only helps in learning from mistakes but also in implementing systemic changes to prevent future incidents. Moreover, a safety-first culture emphasizes continuous education and training, ensuring that all staff members are up to date with the latest safety protocols and best practices.

6. Proper Safety Rounds

Proper safety rounds are a critical practice in hospitals for enhancing patient safety. These rounds involve systematic, regular checks by healthcare professionals to assess and address potential safety hazards in patient care areas.

By conducting these rounds, staff can proactively identify and rectify issues such as equipment malfunctions, medication errors, or environmental risks before they result in harm to patients. Safety rounds also provide an opportunity for direct interaction between hospital leadership and frontline staff, fostering open communication and immediate feedback on safety concerns. This direct engagement not only boosts staff morale by demonstrating a commitment to safety from the top down but also allows for the swift implementation of corrective measures.

Furthermore, safety rounds are instrumental in reinforcing safety protocols and standards among staff, ensuring that everyone is consistently following best practices. They also serve as an educational tool, keeping staff updated on new policies, procedures, and equipment. Most importantly, these rounds demonstrate to patients and their families that the hospital is actively committed to maintaining a safe environment, which can increase their trust and confidence in the care provided from private equity hospitals.

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7. Encourage Patient Engagement

Encouraging patient engagement in hospital settings is a pivotal strategy for improving patient safety. When patients are actively involved in their own care, they become valuable partners in the healthcare process. Engaged patients are more likely to ask questions, understand their treatment options, and communicate openly with their healthcare providers.

This active participation can significantly reduce the risk of medication errors, misdiagnoses, and other adverse events, as patients are more alert to potential discrepancies in their care.

Surveys show that 37% of patients want to be more proactive in their healthcare and 61% of patients want better patient engagement. Patient engagement also extends to involving family members and caregivers, who can provide additional support and oversight, especially for patients with limited ability to advocate for themselves.

Ready to Learn More?

Connect with our team to learn more about how Performance Health Partners’ software can help your organization enhance its patient safety goals.

 

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