Sunday, 1 May 2011

National Accreditation Board for Hospital and Healthcare Providers: Hospital management to be responsible for patients' safety

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: With medical errors being responsible for a large number of deaths  in the country, the National Accreditation Board for Hospital and Healthcare Providers has called for patients' safety through reduction in nosocomial or hospital-acquired infections.
According to Dr Girdhar Gyani, chief executive officer of NABH, though there's no official data on the number of deaths due to medical errors in the country, hospital management should not be lax in enhancing patients' safety. Nosocomial infections have become a major health problem in India with many patients acquiring new diseases from hospitals. He said hospital management will be held accountable for patient's safety.
Incidentally, hospital-acquired infections formed the major chunk of research carried out by Lancet journal on superbugs in the country. Information gathered by NABH revealed that half of the preventable deaths were linked to medical errors in hospitals, be they on the surgical table, intensive care units or in medical wards.
Stating that most of the cases of medical errors even in developed nations are "not picked up or reported", Dr Gyani said even the United States of America had recognised medical errors as a public health issue. "No data in India does not mean there's no problem here," he pointed out in his presentation on inpatients' safety here.
He said the NABH national database contained information on hospital acquired infections, occupational exposure, pharmaco-vigilance, accidents and communicable diseases. A disease registry is also being prepared.
"In developed countries as many as one in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care caused by a range of errors or adverse events.In developing countries, the probability is even higher as much as 20 times higher in some countries. At any given time, 14 lakh people worldwide suffer from infections spread 
by hospitals," he pointed out.
He said the data being collected by NABH is in a "nascent stage". Dr Gyani blamed hospital infections on "human factors, unnatural work flow, lack of team work, inadequate policies/procedures, standardisation and bed occupancy rate and average length of stay".
The NABH data will reflect on percentage of medication errors, transfusion reactions, urinary tract infection rate, respiratory infection rate, intra-vascular device infection rate, surgical site infection rate, incidence of falls in hospitals, incidence of bed sores after admission and incidence of needle stick injuries.

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