HealthDay News — An expert panel is strongly encouraging the immediate adoption of 10 patient safety strategies in healthcare settings and encouraging the adoption of an additional 12, according to a supplement in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Paul G. Shekelle, MD, PhD, from the  RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., and colleagues conducted an evidence-based assessment of 41 patient safety strategies. The results have been published in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) report, “Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices,” and build on a 2001 AHRQ report examining patient safety practices.

The 10 “strongly encouraged” strategies for immediate implementation include:

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  1. Preoperative and anesthesia checklists
  2. Bundles that include checklists to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections
  3. Interventions to reduce urinary catheter use
  4. Bundles of various strategies to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia
  5. Hand hygiene
  6. The do-not-use list for hazardous abbreviations
  7. Interventions to reduce pressure ulcers
  8. Barrier precautions to prevent infections
  9. Use of real-time ultrasonography for central line placement
  10. Interventions to improve prophylaxis for venous thromboembolisms.

“Our expert panel believes that providers should not delay adopting these practices,” Shekelle and colleagues write. “Enough is known now to permit health care systems to move ahead.”

The additional 12 recommendations include developing interventions that focus on fall prevention, limiting adverse drug reactions, medication reconciliation, reducing radiation exposure from unnecessary medical procedures and  developing better informed consent policies.

In an accompanying editorial, Robert M. Wachter, MD, of the University of California in San Francisco and Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Medicine Patient Safety and Quality in Baltimore, acknowledge advancements in patient safety over the past decade, and also point out areas for improvement.

Wachter and Pronovost call for additional studies to determine the best models for training staff and organizing  safety programs, as well as to help integrate useful systems engineering approaches into clinical environments.

“Making patients safe requires ongoing efforts to improve practices, training, information technology and culture. It requires that senior leaders supply resources and leadership while simultaneously promoting engagement and innovation by frontline clinicians,” they wrote.