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Culture of Safety May Reduce Errors in Pediatric Care

Safety culture includes reporting errors, being just, being flexible, and ongoing education

WEDNESDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Adopting a culture of safety, identifying and reporting errors, and preventing errors are all necessary to reduce the risk of harm incurred during pediatric medical care, according to the policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and published online May 29 in Pediatrics.

Marlene R. Miller, M.D., and colleagues from the AAP evaluated current understanding and practices in use to minimize pediatric medical errors and improve the quality of care. The statement focuses on three key issues: the importance of pediatric patient safety, the culture of safety, and strategies for patient safety.

The authors report that children are at greater risk of medication errors than adults because of demographics, development, different medical conditions, and dependency on parents and care providers. Negligence, near misses, and adverse events are the most common pediatric errors identified. Serious errors are common in critical care settings and include delay in diagnosis, improper patient identification, lack of experienced staff, difficulties in performing technical procedures, and calculating medication doses for children. An optimal safety culture with attentiveness and commitment to avoiding errors includes reporting errors, being just, being flexible, and learning. Safety strategies include the introduction of checklists, double-checks at the bedside, and technological solutions for generalized medical safety such as bar-code scanning before drug administration. Recommendations based on these observations include ongoing education, research, and the creation of safety culture and strategies.

"Reducing pediatric patient harm attributable to medical care requires not only preventing errors but also identifying and reporting errors and adverse events, disseminating best practices, and cultivating a culture of safety," the authors write.

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