In the name of safety
A new study aims to identify non-clinical patient safety practices used in healthcare settings that staff perceive could be stopped because they have little or no benefit for safety.
Healthcare systems are characterised by a tendency to add various initiatives, protocols and interventions that aim to make patient care safer. However, not all of these are effective – resulting in wasted healthcare spending and overworked staff.
While previous research has focused on the removal of health technologies and clinical practices that offer little or no benefit, there is a lack of evidence exploring the cessation of non-clinical safety practices that are ineffective at improving the safety of patient care.
A new research project, conducted by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney in collaboration with the University of Leeds and Yorkshire Quality and Research Group aims to change that.
Dr Deborah Debono, Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Health Services Management, School of Public Health at UTS, is leading the Australian arm of the international study, to investigate low-value non-clinical safety practices.
Dr Debono says that identifying these practices, and de-implementing or improving them, will ultimately enhance patient safety.
Using a national survey, the project will engage healthcare workers, to understand what they consider to be non-clinical low-value practices.
“To build a safer healthcare system, we must consider de-implementing non-clinical practices that do not improve safety. Doing so could free up healthcare workers to spend more time on patient-centred care and on those practices that are effective in improving patient safety and the quality of care."
"The first step to de-implement low-value safety practices is to identify what they are.”
To build a safer healthcare system, we must consider de-implementing non-clinical practices that do not improve safety.
Dr Deborah Debono, Senior Lecturer in Health Services Management
“We want to discover what healthcare workers identify as low-value non-clinical safety practices. Healthcare staff themselves know best which safety practices are not fit-for-purpose, do not result in benefits for safety or are just not possible to implement,” Dr Debono says.
Once complete, researchers will categorise which practices are the most commonly identified and will investigate each one.
“If the practice is not of value, we can develop and pilot an intervention that will support the de-implementation of that practice,” Dr Debono says.
Ultimately, by identifying and reducing low-value practices, Dr Debono hopes this will free up time for health professionals to focus on more important tasks.
If you are a healthcare worker and would like to participate in this 5 minute anonymous survey, please visit the In the name of safety – Australia: Identifying low-value safety practices for potential disinvestment website (opens external site).