A potential for further enhancing obstetrical safety : Patient harm measurement with the global trigger tool in the south-east health-care region of Sweden
A decade of heightened awareness concerning safety issues in healthcare since the Institute of Medicine’s awakening call has resulted in a string of counteroffensive measures. The pace of improvement has been slow and not altogether clear. Rates of patient harm are in general now measured by voluntary reporting and indicator measurements. The use of triggers or clues in random nurse-based reviews to enable identification of patient harm is a more effective method for measuring the overall rate of harm in a health care organisation. Measured actual overall rates of patient harm, their variations and patterns during delivery in the south-east health-care region of Sweden are not previously known. Measurement is important to patient safety improvement, as a foundation for accountability, effort selection and keeping track of results. The patient’s voice must also be much clearer in quality and safety improvement efforts in healthcare. The Institute of Healthcare Improvements Global Trigger Tool for measuring adverse events was used to review 1137 deliveries during 2011 in the seven departments (10% of all cases). Mother and new-born were both evaluated. Thirty eight patient harm events per 1000 patient days were identified, correlating to 13% of admissions. Presupposed rates among staff were double this value. Current patient safety indicators are half this value. One third of patient harm events at birth affected the new-born. Twenty different categories of harm were found. This study shows significantly higher rates of patient harm than previously reported. The nurse reviewers defined the method as valuable and a useful method for measuring harm at delivery. Limitations at this stage are no observed changes in health care delivery or clinical outcomes and that value assessment is based entirely on the judgement of the data-abstractors.
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