NABH & NATHEALTH new study shed light on critical patient safety challenges

The study involved surveys and interviews of healthcare professionals from over 1100 NABH accredited hospitals, covered pan India with nurses and hospital administrators forming the majority, accounting for 29 per cent and 28 per cent of participants, respectively

A combined research study by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) and NATHEALTH, the healthcare federation of India, has shed light on critical patient safety challenges, and current rate of patient safety in Indian hospitals.

The study involved surveys and interviews of healthcare professionals from over 1100 NABH accredited hospitals, covered pan India with nurses and hospital administrators forming the majority, accounting for 29 per cent and 28 per cent of participants, respectively.

This nationwide patient safety assessment examined perspectives of healthcare workers, leadership, and staffing impact on safety. It also reviewed adverse event reporting and regional variations to develop targeted interventions for improved patient safety across India’s healthcare system. NABH & NATHEALTH created a mechanism to rate patient safety, and based on the data collected, the average patient safety rating landed at 8.20, with doctors expressing the most confidence in patient safety compared to other participants. Interestingly, the assessment also revealed regional variations. The northern region scored the highest (8.47) for patient safety, while medium-sized hospitals came out on top when comparing hospital sizes. It also revealed a low average reported adverse events in the past year (3.95), with doctors reporting the least (2.65) and top management reporting the highest (4.80).

The assessment also identified unsafe injection practices such as reuse of needles and syringes; medication errors like improper labelling, and dosage miscalculations; faulty medical devices which can pose risks of malfunctions, injuries, and complications; high rates of healthcare-associated infections and AMR (Anti-microbial resistance), inadequate healthcare facilities leading to overcrowding in hospitals, compromising patient safety; and lower number of public institutions following NABH standards as key challenges in patient safety.

Furthermore, 58 per cent nurses reported feeling pressure to prioritize efficiency over safety, 35 per cent highlighted inadequate staffing and 32 per cent nurses accounted weak patient safety culture as a major factor contributing to ineffective patient safety. Doctors echoed similar concerns, with inadequate staffing accounting 21 per cent and pressure to prioritise efficiency 18 per cent as significant challenges. A lack of a well-defined patient safety culture (and limitations in learning and reporting systems (were also identified as areas for improvement by hospital doctors. On the other hand, hospital management’s perspective focused on the challenge of balancing speed with safety (37 per cent) and a limited focus on patient rights (31 per cent). The assessment of diagnostics in these hospitals highlighted inadequately trained staff, improper reporting mechanisms, limited patient understanding of safety protocols, and inconsistent adherence to established protocols.

On the occasion, Jaxay Shah, Chairperson, QCI shared his vision for quality and patient-centric healthcare. He stated, “Looking ahead to 2047, the Sankalp for a Viksit and prosperous Bharat will be built on the foundation of Quality healthcare. For the next ten years, the need is to leverage technology and capacities we have built up in the past to create a system integrated healthcare delivery and move horizontally we must devote ourselves to ensuring comprehensive care for every person, regardless of their geographical location or socioeconomic status.”

Dr Mahesh Verma, Chairperson, NABH emphasised, “The assessment findings serve as a roadmap to create a patient-centric healthcare ecosystem where safety is paramount. This will further help in correcting the course of healthcare keeping in mind the perspective of the nurses, doctors, medical staffs, and hospital’s management team. In addition to this, it will boost patient’s trust towards healthcare providers.”

During the launch of the report, Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO, NABH said, “Building on these insights, the assessment recommends a multi-pronged approach to improve patient safety, including strengthening leadership and governance for patient safety, establishing a central data collection platform and a unified reporting system, promoting patient education and awareness, integrating technology to improve patient safety measures, and implementing policy reforms with stronger enforcement mechanisms. The successful implementation of these recommendations will require the collaboration of several key stakeholders, including government agencies, hospital leaderships, healthcare professionals, patient advocacy groups, and technology providers. Collaborative efforts with these key stakeholders will be instrumental in implementing the recommendations and fostering a culture of continuous improvement in patient safety.”


health newsHospital InfrastructureNABHNATHEALTHpatient safety
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