New Delhi: The Union health ministry has come up with a draft framework aimed at ensuring patient safety while undergoing any medical intervention and it proposes measures such as setting up of an online grievance system.
The draft National Patient Safety Implementation Framework (NPSIF) states that patient safety is a fundamental element of healthcare and is defined as freedom for a patient from unnecessary harm or potential harm associated with the provision of healthcare.
It is about safe drugs dispensing, surgical care, safe childbirth, injection safety, blood safety, medication safety, medical device safety, safe organ, tissue and cell transportation and donation, said a senior health ministry official.
It is also about bio-medical waste management, prevention of healthcare-associated infections and much more, the official said.
Failure to deliver safe care is attributed to unsafe clinical practices, unsafe processes and poor systems and processes.
According to the senior health ministry official, the framework is based on six main pillars–health system strengthening, improvement in adverse events reporting, training of healthcare personnel, research, vertical campaigns which includes injection safety, blood safety, surgical saftey, maternal and child healthcare and quality of healthcare services through accreditation.
“The provisions of healthcare services have significantly grown in the public sector over the past few years and there is a large unregulated private sector. Therefore, the quality of services and its legal aspects need to be taken up at this point,” the official said.
Challenges in patient safety in India are numerous, ranging from unsafe injections and biological waste management to medication and medical device safety, high rates of healthcare-associated infections, anti-microbial resistance etc, the draft states.
There are a wide range of initiatives in patient safety being implemented in India at different levels of care in both public and private sectors, and there is a multiplicity of national and international stakeholders working in this area.
The draft NPSIF proposes setting up of a web-based grievance system and toll-free helplines for patient safety in all healthcare facilities and introducing anonymous reporting system in healthcare facilities to be used by healthcare facility staff, students, patients and their families.
It also suggests setting up of a national-level steering committee as a central coordinating mechanism for patient safety on the basis of a patient safety expert group.
The draft proposes incorporating patient safety principles and concepts in the Public Health Act and streamlining patient safety in different insurance schemes.
To strengthen quality assurance mechanisms, including accreditation system, the draft suggests incorporating selected patient safety indicators within the accreditation system for hospitals and laboratories.
It also proposes establishment of a culture of safety and improving communication, patient identification and handing over transfer protocols in healthcare facilities.
The draft calls for ensuring that patient safety processes are clearly communicated to patients and caregivers prior, during and after the medical intervention using different communication means such as videos, mobile apps, leaflets, brochures, etc.