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U.S. Hospitals Lag in Adopting Safety Recommendations

Report shows that 9% of acute care hospitals in Utah, Missouri have no written safety plan

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some improvements in hospital patient safety systems, many hospitals have made slow progress in adopting 1998 recommendations from the Institute of Medicine National Roundtable on Health Care Quality or from subsequent reports, according to a study published in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Daniel R. Longo, Sc.D., of the University of Missouri-Columbia, and colleagues analyzed survey responses from 107 acute care hospitals in Missouri and Utah to assess the status of patient safety systems and examine changes from 2002 to 2004. They studied seven variables: computerized physician order entry systems, computerized test results and assessments of adverse events; specific patient safety policies; use of data in patient safety programs; drug storage, administration and safety procedures; manner of handling adverse event/error reporting; prevention policies; and root cause analysis.

The researchers found that 74% of hospitals reported full implementation of a written patient safety plan, while 9% reported no plan. Despite the growth of computer technology and improvements in hospital billing systems, the researchers also found that only 3% of hospitals reported full implementation in 2004 of computerized physician order entry systems for medications.

"Efforts for improvement must be accelerated," the authors conclude.

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