Lack of teamwork, negative culture, are barriers to patient safety

April 27, 2013 at 1:59 AM
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NEW YORK, April 27 (UPI) -- Lack of teamwork, negative culture and poor communication are barriers to U.S. patient safety, a survey commissioned by American International Group found.

"This study is designed to better understand what drives patient safety, the barriers our healthcare system must overcome to achieve it, and what can be done to help keep hospitals safer over the next three to five years," Russell Johnston, casualty product line executive at AIG U.S. and Canada, said in a statement.

The survey found 64 four percent of hospital executives said their top priority in 2013 is patient safety, and their top threat is failing to maximize financial sustainability.

While 96 percent of respondents said their hospital has a "culture of patient safety," one-third acknowledged their hospital needed to undergo major changes to maintain that culture in the future.

Virtually all hospital executives -- 98 percent -- agreed "every staff member in my hospital is responsible for patient safety," but half said nurses were largely responsible.

"Given that nearly half of every dollar spent on healthcare costs is related to a medical error, improvements in patient safety will provide a quick return on investment," said Emily Rhinehart, a registered nurse and vice president and division manager for healthcare risk consulting, AIG.

The survey was conducted Nov. 13-Dec. 20, 2012, among 250 hospital executives and 100 risk managers in hospitals across the United States. The survey has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

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