ECRI: Infection Risks, Antimicrobial Stewardship Top Patient Safety Concerns

Challenges concerning antimicrobial stewardship, sepsis and peripheral intravenous (PIV) catheter infections appear on the ECRI Institute's "2019 Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations" report.

Coming in second on the list is "Antimicrobial Stewardship in Physician Practices and Aging Services." In an executive brief, Sharon Bradley, senior infection prevention and patient safety analyst/consultant with ECRI Institute, notes, "Antibiotic stewardship does not mean withholding necessary treatment. But we have casually and cavalierly handed around the candy dish of antibiotics without a second thought as to how we may be harming our patients."

Coming in eighth is "Early Recognition of Sepsis across the Continuum." In the brief, ECRI notes, "Healthcare workers throughout the continuum of care must be able to recognize sepsis. Certified nursing assistants can be trained to use screening tools, and physician practices can screen for sepsis both in the exam room and on the phone. Simulation and skills practice can help workers recognize sepsis and communicate their concerns."

Ninth on the top 10 list is "Infections from Peripherally Inserted IV Lines." The brief notes, "Often, PIVs are inserted upon admission as a matter of course, in case the patient needs IV therapy at a later point. However, PIVs can expose patients to a significant risk of infection — one that is underreported, underrecognized and often ignored…"

ECRI states that it creates the annual list of patient safety concerns to support healthcare organizations to proactively identify and respond to safety threats. The list is compiled using data on adverse events and concerns gathered by ECRI and "expert judgment."

The top patient safety concern for 2019 is "Diagnostic Stewardship and Test Result Management Using EHRs." Rounding out the top three is "Burnout and Its Impact on Patient Safety."