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IIHMR concerned over Indian hospitals unsafe patient safety practices

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Bengaluru is now seriously concerned about the massive unsafe patient safety practices prevailing across hospitals in the country.

The Institute is of the view that only immediate adoption of patient safety practices could bring down the spread of hospital acquired infections, medication errors and prevent wrong diagnosis along with proper communication between patients and doctors.

India accounts for 40 per cent of patient unsafe practices . In Bengaluru alone which is the hub of healthcare majors, reports 68 per cent of hospitals with no adequate patient safety measures which includes absence of handle bars in washrooms for patients to grasp.

Adhering to the basic patient care measures would drastically improve the overall healthcare delivery in India. In fact a simple and low-cost infection prevention and control measures, such as appropriate hand hygiene, can reduce the frequency of hospital acquired infections by over 50 per cent, Dr. Biranchi Jena, director of IIHMR Bengaluru told Pharmabiz.

The purpose of patient safety is to tackle and control patient unsafe issues across hospitals in the country, he added.

Now the practice of hand hygiene which is the most neglected in India needs to be  mandated where use of soap and water after which application of alcohol-based hand sanitisers should be compulsory not just for doctors and nurses but also patient, and their caregivers, he added.

Another critical component in the patient safety agenda listed in the 6 point agenda of WHO is the communication between the patient and doctor where adequate time is set aside to comprehend the health condition. This would prevent incorrect diagnosis and medication which could control the patient’s healthcare expenses. The reason for mistaken disease detection by doctors is largely driven by stress and fatigue. Quoting a WHO study, Dr. Jena said that as doctors and nurses in some hospitals in India work for 30 hours continously as against 16 hours of working in the west make these medical professionals in India far more strained with lack of sleep. This led to 36 per cent of medical errors, of which 21 per cent were serious medication blunders.  Further, illegible handwriting also le to wrong medication dispensing at pharmacy outlets.

“We see the need for comfortable extended working hours to avoid sleep deprivation and roster rotation practices to be implemented in hospitals to avert a crisis during patient care,” pointed out Dr. Jena.

Indian healthcare is at the crossroads and with government’s miniscule 1 per cent GDP allocation there is a serious disparity of hospitals in the rural and urban areas. Adding to these woes is the high unsafe patient safety practices. This is where IIHMR through its two-year fulltime post graduate diploma in hospital management & health management is creating a pool of experts to organise a series of workshops, seminars, lectures to doctors, nurses and pharmacists in the healthcare space, he said.

It has kicked off such initiatives at medical colleges in Pondicherry like JIPMER, Sri Venkateshwaraa Medical College Hospital and Research Centre and Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital. Besides it has identified medical and nursing colleges in Kochi, Hyderabad and Chennai for similar initiatives. “The key objective is to ensure that Indian hospitals will need to enforce total patient safety practices for its growing patient pool and those coming in for medical tourism,” said Dr. Jena.

 

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