Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe

Patient Safety in the Hospital Environment: The Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Quality of the Provided Health Care Services

Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe

Patient Safety in the Hospital Environment: The Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Quality of the Provided Health Care Services

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

According to the European Committee data, approximately 8-12% of patients hospitalized in the European Union (EU) face adverse events during their hospitalization, such as infections, medication, surgical and diagnosis errors including the incorrect evaluation of laboratory findings, as well as problems caused by the use of defective medical devices (Europa 2008). An adverse event is defined as an event that results in the harm of a patient. The harm caused could be in relation to the structure or function of the body and/or any other harm that is caused as a consequence (Europa 2009).

Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) are the most common events associated with hospital care. As an HCAI is defined as any disease or condition (disorder, infection) associated with the presence of an infectious microorganism (bacterium, fungus, virus, parasite or other transmissible agent) or its by-products, as a result of the exposure to hospital facilities or procedures.

Patient safety is a concept based on the provision of quality health care, basically being a part of the whole issue of quality. Patient safety is also a major goal of health care systems of many countries in Europe and worldwide, being a subject of great interest for many international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (WHO 2016, OECD 2004). In 2008, the European Union made an announcement concerning the prevention and control of infections associated with hospital care, indicating the urge for applying measures for the prevention of adverse events. It is estimated that within the EU, 8-12% of hospitalized patients experience some sort of adverse event during their hospitalization (Europa 2008). Insufficient patient care is a major public health problem and a great burden for the already limited health care resources. A significant percentage of the adverse events can be avoided, whether they concern the hospital sector or the primary health care sector, due to the fact that the majority of these events are attributed to systemic factors. The European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) estimates that health care associated infections affect one in twenty hospitalized patients (ECDC 2014).

2.Safety Culture

The conceptual approach of the term culture differs according to whether it is being used by anthropologists and sociologists or it is being used to describe the elements of a specific organization. Culture is defined by a set of socially transmitted models of behaviors, arts, beliefs, traditions and any other product of human action, as well as of the specific mentality of a community or population.

Organizational culture consists of the characteristics that form the way its members think, act and approach their work. The term "safety culture" appears for the first time in 1987, in the report made by the Nuclear Agency, concerning the investigation of the Chernobyl accident in 1986 (International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group - INSAG 1991). In the INSAG report, the term "safety culture" is described as "the group of characteristics and attitudes that define in persons and organizations the fact that the issues of safety and nuclear stations are beyond everything and that safety should be a matter of specific interest due to its importance." This term was introduced in order to highlight the importance of the awareness of danger and safety, both by the workers and the entire organization, as well as the possibility that this knowledge ensures that the appropriate actions are taken by the organization to manage adverse situations rationally.

Safety culture is a subset of the organizational culture and is being affected by the attitudes of the organization's members, reflecting - at the same time - the ways being used by the organization to ensure its own organizational safety. It should also be noted that the organizational safety does not only concern the drafting and designing of prevention policies and procedures, but essentially concerns the active implementation of these policies and procedures by the members of the organization themselves. …

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