The  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a follow-up report to its 2001 study, Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices, revealing new evidence regarding outcomes and the impact of specified safety strategies. Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices details how an international panel of patient safety experts determined that enough evidence exists to encourage health organizations to officially adopt 22, out of 41 strategies studied, to improve safety and quality of care.

Researchers even went so far as to label the “top ten” of the 22 safety strategies recommended as “strongly encouraged” for implementation based on an overwhelming body of proof supporting their effectiveness.   These top ten practices include:

  1. Preoperative checklists and anesthesia checklists to prevent operative and postoperative events.
  2. Bundles that include checklists to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections.
  3. Interventions to reduce urinary catheter use, including catheter reminders, stop orders, or nurse-initiated removal protocols.
  4. Bundles that include head-of-bed elevation, sedation vacations, oral care with chlorhexidine, and subglottic-suctioning endotracheal tubes to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia.
  5. Hand hygiene.
  6. “Do Not Use” list for hazardous abbreviations.
  7. Multicomponent interventions to reduce pressure ulcers.
  8. Barrier precautions to prevent healthcare-associated infections.
  9. Use of real-time ultrasound for central line placement.
  10. Interventions to improve prophylaxis for venous thromboembolisms.

In addition, a supplement to the Annals of Internal Medicine highlights 10 articles on strategies featured in the study and includes a free continuing medical education quiz with each article.  Article topics include: promoting a culture of safety, fall prevention programs, medication reconciliation, nurse-to-patient ratios and more. To access these informative articles and to earn your continuing ed credits, click here.

For more information on all 22 strategies as well as additional resources and tools that can be used to put these practices in place in your organization, click here.