Hospitals in Iowa and across the nation are going to be graded next month onhow well they implement 11 patient safety standards to reduce medicalerrors. Officials say the standards shouldn’t cost a lot to implement andwill save lives. For example, hospitals will be required to confirm apatient’s identify not once but twice before dispensing medication orperforming surgery. Hospitals risk losing their accredidation if thestandards are not in place. Rhonda Kirkegaard of Finley Hospital in Dubuqueis administrative director of quality, and she says most hospitalsimplemented these standards years ago. Kirkegaard says there will be six”goals” to start with, dealing with the most critical patient safety issues.Kirkegaard says another rule deals with communication among care givers. Thenew rule requires the “read back” of a telephoned order and a list ofabbreviations so written orders are precise. Another rule calls fordifferent ways to handle “high-alert” medications.Another rule deals withthe ways hospitals try to prevent mistakes in surgery. Kirkegaard says herhospital already puts a big “NO” on a leg or arm that’s not to be operatedon.
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