Patient Safety Matters to You - #PSAW19

Patients Should Take an Active Role in Their Care and Safety

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In today’s blog we’re emphasizing the important of patient involvement to prevent medication errors.

Now more than ever, patients are being encouraged to take an active role in their own safety. Doctors, nurses, emergency care providers, and other healthcare providers welcome their involvement.

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“The latest summary of reported medication errors (“Preventing Medication Errors: A $21 Billion Opportunity,” from the National Priorities Partnership and National Quality Forum) showed that the largest contributor to medication errors is the prescriber’s lack of knowledge about other drugs and preparations the patient is taking, which can lead to serious interactions or overdose.

Only the patient has this key information required to prevent medication errors. Only the patient knows which prescribed drugs, OTC preparations, and CAMs he or she is taking and how and when these are taken .

All the more reason for healthcare providers to educate patients about the medications and other products they’re using, and empower them to speak up about their medications to healthcare providers, including whether they’re actually taking them and how often.” 

https://www.americannursetoday.com/preventing-medication-errors-empowering-patients/

“Patients should maintain a list of all drugs they’re actually taking and show it to every healthcare provider they see. This list should include all over-the-counter medications, home remedies, and herbal medications including tea, vitamins and weight gain or loss products such as shakes, pills or bars. Sometimes they can be dangerous when you take them with other medications.

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Patients should know what medications they are taking, why they are taking them, and potential side effects. To help prevent medication errors - patients must tell the doctor and nurse of any allergies and type of reaction or side effects they have.”

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/patients/information/questions-to-ask-your-doctor

Patients are key healthcare team members and must speak up to protect themselves from errors.

Preventable medical errors cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Clinicians are caring people, committed to providing their best care, but they’re human. And, human beings make mistakes. ReaLifeSim is committed to provide more realistic experiences in clinical skills practice to help improve patient safety. Improving the realism of clinical simulation education at the beginning of a clinician’s education and training experiences is one of the best means to improve patient safety for all, now and for the future.

To learn more about ReaLifeSim products visit our website.

International Women's Day

The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 is “Better the Balance -Better the World.” This is an excellent theme, but it certainly isn’t the first time we’ve been reminded of the importance of achieving and maintaining balance.

Despite our intellect, creativity, innovation, ingenuity and energy some lessons seem to slide by us as if we were Teflon coated.

We are told about, and sold on, the one super food or super exercise to improve our health, but when all is said and done, it always comes back to eating a balanced diet or executing a balanced exercise program to maintain a healthy level of fitness.

The natural world is full of examples: light and dark; sun and rain; activity and rest; work and play; even the Lion King’s Mufasa understood the balancing roles of predator and prey in completing the circle of life.

Things just seem to work better, last longer and prove to be more efficient and effective when the participating elements are in a balanced state.

Imagine the world we can build when we have the full range of human endeavor enriched by the combined efforts of women and men in a balanced force of nature.

In an effort to “walk the talk,” ReaLifeSim offers its own cohort of amazing women who balance our team and make a better world by improving healthcare training and delivery resulting in enhanced patient safety and outcomes.

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Elizabeth Benson,

MEd, RN, FCN, FACHT

Co-founder and CEO, Elizabeth leads the team that created globally utilized ReaLifeSim medical and VetReaLifeSim veterinary wearable hybrid IV and blood draw task trainers. Under her leadership, the ReaLifeSim has garnered international recognition as a Top 10 Healthcare Simulation Solution provider for 2018, a Top 12 company leading in the area of patient safety advocacy 2019, and the provider experts choose for simulated IV scenarios in eight international EMS competitions. Elizabeth mentors women entrepreneurs and is an active STEM/STEAM advocate.

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Linda Goodman,

RN, MS, CHSE

Co-founder, Linda brings her expertise as a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator to every level of development, scenario creation and competency measures. Linda’s current work as a college-based simulation coordinator and small business owner continue to provide critical insights she applies to every product presentation, functional demonstration and clinical education opportunity.


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Rhonda Lyons, MBA, PhD (c)

Rhonda’s experience in quality assurance in the aviation/space industries contributes to her keen focus to ensure on-going product quality and patient safety elements are maintained at the highest levels. Given aviation is the benchmark for building a culture of “zero tolerance” regarding issues of customer safety, her input is critical in keeping ReaLifeSim at the forefront of patient safety advocacy. Rhonda is an active STEM/STEAM advocate.

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Jacqueline Bass, MEd (c)

Jacqueline adds her passion for education and advocacy through her contributions in developing instructional material for products and technology and supporting advocacy positions. As the team’s historian, she also works to keep the record of the company’s journey clear and accurate to ensure a record of lessons learned and corporate consistency to original goals. Jacqueline is an active STEM/STEAM advocate.

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Shannon Miles, CGS

Shannon’s energy and enthusiasm make her a perfect fit in her dual roles as digital marketing and customer care specialist. She’s the go-to person for all things tweeted, posted, Instagramed, Pinterested, etc. Plus, Shannon delivers personalized customer service, from explaining the functions of various products to following up orders and fulfillment to ensure customers get what they need, where they need it and when they need it.

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Alexus Smiley, BS

Alexus’s love of animals and strong research/survey and writing skills contribute to the success of our veterinary product line, VetReaLifeSim. Alexus, a recent UNF graduate and volunteer at the local Humane Society, is starting a graduate program while in pursuit of her goal to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.


2 Years with Unwavering Focus

Two years ago, we introduced our ReaLifeSim wearable hybrid IV trainer to the world at HPSN World 2017.

 
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And now, having just left HPSN World 2019 where we were co-sponsors, we’re happy to report we saw and tried out some of the newest and most amazing components of healthcare simulation technology!  But, even though new and innovative technologies were the focus of the product showcase, the most satisfying aspect of the conference was the topic dominating the sessions, presentations and panel discussions – patient safety.

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The primary focus was the most basic tenet of all healthcare providers and organizations - “do no harm.” Offered as evidence of the importance of that pithy phrase, was a narrative, told by the Sheridan family, in person and on film, about the failure of providers and the healthcare system at large, which had catastrophic results – not once, but twice – impacting every member of the Sheridan family. The documentary is called To Err is Human, edited and produced by Michael Eisenberg, and is a must-see for, well - everyone.

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Other areas emphasized included competence, confidence, communication and caring (often expressed as emotional intelligence). These elements are and have been the underpinning of ReaLifeSim since its inception. Competence and confidence in hands-on skills and interpersonal communication are the twin goals of our ReaLifeSim IV training products. By providing the opportunity for repeated safe practice, on a live person, future doctors, nurses, EMTs and other clinical staff develop the competence and confidence they need to deliver the safe, quality care all patients expect and deserve.

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We are also committed to competency in a clinician’s communication skills because research shows effective provider/patient communication is essential to empower patients to see themselves as part of the process, building a sense of trust within the patient toward the provider and improving patient outcomes. The ReaLifeSim IV trainer, worn by a live person, helps clinical learners improve their provider/patient communication with every practice session.

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For patient safety to take its rightful place as the centerpiece of healthcare’s culture, it must be the mindset of every participant: physician, nurse, technician, administrative staffer, custodian, contractor and patient. Each of us, in our various roles, must be accountable for ensuring a patient’s safety as they pass through each step of the healthcare process.

While debate continues over the exact number of mistakes leading to negative patient outcomes, one thing is clear. There are way too many occurring every day. If healthcare is to join the ranks of other high-risk industries, such as aviation and nuclear power, who can boast a true “zero tolerance” culture for errors that cause patient harm, then it is up to all of us to demand and deliver such a system to our selves and our fellow citizens.

Patient Safety - "The Focal Point of Patient-Centered Care"

Patient safety

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Patient safety is the hot topic of the day. Patient safety routinely accompanies the introduction of new technologies, medications, interventions, treatments and equipment and rightly so. Patient safety is the foundation of the medical and healthcare communities’ guiding principal “do no harm.” Patient safety is the focal point of “patient-centered care.”

And yet, thousands of patients are injured in some way every day due to errors in communication or technology. Why?

In addition to the fact that health care providers at every level are human, complete with our inherent fallibility, I believe the rush to ensure appropriate levels of safety are built into our tools, systems and processes, too often, omit the patient along the way.

Medicine’s focus on the broken part, disease or chronic condition can result in a “medicine vs. the problem” perspective often leaving the patient feeling like the second-string player on the bench forgotten by the coach.

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If the more recent plethora of studies on “patient engagement” and tools to assist with same are any indication, then I am hopeful for a reduction in errors leading to patient injury. However, as I noticed just today, there is a growing market in patient engagement “technologies” and I fear the technology side of that coin may get more attention.

What about an approach that has the provider actually speaking with and listening to the patient? While this may sound simple, it is not easy to do effectively and efficiently.

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First, it must start at the beginning of any clinician’s medical education and training. It must be taught, demonstrated, practiced and evaluated with the same weight given to other clinical skills.  It includes learning to ask better questions and perhaps even more importantly, using “active listening” skills to extract more precise and comprehensive information from the patient.

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This is important not only at the start of the provider-patient relationship, but also following post-visit or procedure instructions for self-care, medications, and follow-up reporting by the patient. The provider has the responsibility to ensure understanding so the patient becomes a contributing member of the care team.

I believe improved provider-patient communication, understanding and trust will lead to better outcomes and fewer patient injuries and deaths.

Thank you EMS - ReaLifeSim at #EMSTODAY

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Most days when we hear or see a fire truck or rescue vehicle our first concern is where is it, which way is it going and am I in the way? Okay, our first three concerns. We might say a small prayer for those in need of their help and a thank you that it’s not us.

But how often do we think about the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs, who make a career out of providing our communities with incredible life-saving medical care any time of day, every day and in every possible environment and circumstance you can imagine?

Whether it’s illness, injury, accident, natural or man-made disaster, these men and women, many of them serving in volunteer positions, make our health, safety and well-being their #1 priority. And they often perform their life-saving efforts in the dark; blistering heat; bone-chilling cold; torrential rain; or a noisy and dangerous intersection. 

We, at #ReaLifeSim, salute these “angels among us” for their commitment and dedication to helping us, their neighbors, near or far, when they need help most.

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We are proud EMS providers choose wearable ReaLifeSim hybrid IV trainers that go everywhere they go to practice their skills. #yougowego The added realism of ReaLifeSim trainers helps ensure their skills and confidence are at the highest level when you need them. #trainthewayyoutreat

We’re taking this moment to to say “thank you” and we encourage you to do the same, whenever you can. Let EMS know they are appreciated.