The ‘Must Do’ List: Certain Patient Safety Rules Should Not Be Elective
The modern patient safety field was built on a foundation of “systems thinking,” namely, that we should avoid assigning individual blame for errors, instead focusing on identifying and fixing dysfunctional systems. While this approach is largely correct and is responsible for many of the field’s successes, it needs to be balanced with a need for accountability.
Today, while there is an increasing appreciation of the importance of achieving such balance, leaders of health care delivery systems are unsure about how and when to enforce certain safety standards and rules. We believe that the time has come to articulate criteria for “must do” safety practices: practices that have sufficiently compelling supportive evidence that clinicians should not have the right of individual veto.
In the following blog post, we offer proposed criteria for “must do” practices and argue that two practices—hand hygiene and influenza vaccination for health care workers—should currently qualify. We believe that these practices, if more widely adopted, will help ensure patient safety.
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