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National Patient Safety Goal

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 The legacy health system has undertaken to provide safe environ anent to the healthcare system especially the patient’s safety. In order decrease the number of preventable medical accidents and mistakes. Some of the means that are used include use of simplified processes, standardized procedures and equipment, working as a team (practitioners) in the healthcare facility, staff trainings are done frequently, improved means of communication and sustained monitoring of the process and ensuring high reliability of results. The National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) were established by a health body known as the Joint Commission in the year 2002 to address the health hazards or the risks that patients were exposed to and the means to reduce such occurrences. These goals apply to all recognized organizations and help them to deal with particular areas of concern in safety of the patients. These goals are updated each year and the exercise is overseen by a panel of experts in the safety of patients and also doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and risk managers.

What is the Goal?

It the goal of any health care facility to provide patient safety to the community on daily basis and this is done in accordance with the recommended goals as set by the NPSGs- National Patient Safety Goals. Everyone is supposed to play a role (Wachter 2007). There are several goals that are already established by NPSGs and they include identification of the patient correctly, safe use of medication, prevent patient falls, involving the patients in the care, avoidance of surgical care, use of effective means of communications, avoid further infections as much as possible and address patient risks.

Precipitating Events

Most of the accredited health care facilities are complying with the NPSG’s to the latter. Some facilities achieved 100% compliance rates, others 99% compliance according to the 2007 National Patients Safety goals. Most of the health care facilities achieved above 11 out of the 18 requirements, this is estimated at 90% or more than 1,465 healthcare centers who meet the requirements. Compliance describes the situation where the hospitals consistently observe the requirements of NPSG’s and non compliance is failure to follow these requirements, The Joint Commission Resources (2008). The Data collected from 2003 to 2005 indicate that a lot of facilities complied with the regulation and the statistics were educed from the joint commission recognized health facilities surveys. Hospitals improved with time or equaled observance from 2006 to 2007 on all necessities familiar to both years. The use of at least two Patient identifiers had 96.2% in 20003, 95.9% in 2004, and 95.3 in 2005, 91.9 in 2006 and 97.2 in 2007.

The use of safe medication was measured from the way hospitals organized and standardized their drugs in terms of concentration and other regulations. The research by the joint commission revealed that over 99% standardized their drugs and also drug concentrations were limited. The joint commission also surveyed the existed of look alike drugs and sound alike drugs and took action to help solve the errors that could result such as interchange of the drugs (Wachter 2007). About 94.6% percent of the hospitals participated in this search and solved the errors.

The trends in the data obtained for compliance has to be interpreted with caution because at first instance, one may think that the compliance is deteriorating. This is because the studies are becoming more sophisticated in evaluation and identification of the non-compliance. For instance, in 2004, the compliance percentage was 92.0% for “time out” procedures while in 2007, the rate was 78.8%. Initially the “time outs” were only done in operating rooms while it is supposed to be conducted anywhere where invasive procedures are done, and presently they cover catheterization laboratories, endoscopy and also bedside processes, The Joint Commission Resources (2008).

Possible Negative Outcomes

Implementation of the NPSGs is not very simple as it’s bound to come with some consequences which are very devastating. The goals do not address the unqualified personnel. In 2006, a research by Beatrice Kalisch found out that in the operating rooms, there were many unlicensed staff and that the routine was usually missed or delayed (Aspden 2006) These problems required the intervention of the nurses because they presented poor teamwork, ineffective delegation of duties, denial of mistakes and these practices are very bad in the healthcare system and could result in other serious negative impact. In case the unqualified personnel make errors, it even riskier as they could even result into deaths and permanent injuries.

The second problem is the possible harm that could result when the practitioners get exhausted. The NPSGs require that a tradition of safety regulation be entrenched where patients are allowed to actively participate in their own care. At times, the patients may mess up because of lack of experience or know when the workers are not around.

Implementation of Evidence Based Practice

The use of evidence based practices and documentation demands the decision about a health care issue or system be founded on the best alternative available, that is recent, valid and there should be appropriate evidence to back the decision. The decisions in these cases are madder by the patients and they are founded on the knowledge they obtained unstated from the practitioners within the framework of the available resources.

The provision of safe medication is one of the major goals that need to be addressed seriously. The NPSG suggests that a list of look alike medications sound alike medicines be made and updated every year. This has been very effective in the past for instance medicines like ergometrine and ergotamine.  One (ergotamine) is a drug for migraine headache while ergometrine is used in obstetrics. If this could be interchanged, the results could be very devastating (Aspden 2006)

Positive Outcomes

When the NPSGs are fully observed to the later, they are likely to cut down the number of falls that would be experienced in the emergency departments or by elderly patients. This is because one of the recommendations, calls for falls prevention measures which include use of assistive devices and reducing the number of medication. The numbers of infections from the hospitals (nasocommial infections) are reduced, Vincent (2006). The hospital environment is a potential hazard to those who are non-infected as well as those infected. Previous researches have indicated that the careless handling of patients leads to extended hospital stay due to secondary infections (Aspden 2006).


Generally there are more advantages associated with complying with the NPSGs and their observance is critical. If all the goals could have a rate of 100% compliance in all the healthcare facilities, then the efficiency of the medical care could also improve drastically and the healthcare system would be very cost effective.  


Aspden P. (2006). Preventing Medication Errors. Institute Of Medicine (U.S.). Committee on Identifying and Preventing Medication Errors. National Academies Press

The Joint Commission Resources (2008). The Joint Commission’s Annual Report on Quality and Safety. Improving America’s Hospitals Retrieved On 13th March  2009 From Http://Www.Jointcommissionreport.Org/Performanceresults/Patientsafetygoal.Aspx

The Joint Commission Resources (2006). Meeting The Joint Commission’s 2007 National Patient Safety Goals. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Joint Commission Resources

Vincent C (2006). Patient Safety. Elsevier Health Sciences

Wachter R.M (2007). Understanding Patient Safety. Mcgraw-Hill Professional

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