Pediatric mental health, violence against clinicians and uncertainty around reproductive care are among the most pressing issues for health system leadership to address this year, according to ECRI’s 2023 list of top 10 patient safety concerns.
Gone from the list is last year's top concern—understaffing. Also missing are past themes of inequity and racism in healthcare, disjointed telehealth workflows and emergency preparedness. The list stems from recent studies, patient safety databases and in-depth conversations with industry stakeholders.
The report, released Monday by the nonprofit patient safety organization, also advises systems on how to solve industrywide problems such as delayed sepsis treatment, medication errors and preventable harm due to missed care.
Instead of looking at these issues as individual events to address, stakeholders need to come together as part of a comprehensive effort to prevent harm, said Dr. Marcus Schabacker, president and CEO of ECRI.
“We have not made enough progress when it comes to patient safety,” Schabacker said. “What's lacking is the total system safety approach. It starts with a culture of leadership and the governance you put in place where there's a deep and believable commitment to safety.”
While this year's list doesn't share some of the same issues as previous lineups, many prior concerns continue to have an underlying impact on the areas being highlighted, said Patricia McGaffigan, vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Staffing shortages in particular have caused adverse events in care coordination and medication administration, and have also led to clinicians being forced to work outside their scope of practice.
“There's a certain interdependency and connectedness here that is vital," McGaffigan said.