Economy is taking a toll on hospital safety

According to an Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) survey of 848 healthcare professionals conducted in the fall of 2009, the economy is taking a toll in a number of hospitals and forcing them to take steps in response to the economic downturn that put patients at greater risk. 

  • 68% of respondents reported that the economy has affected their staffing.
  • 57% of the survey respondents felt that the economy has adversely impacted the purchase of capital equipment, implementation of technology, updating of existing technology, and remodeling of the physical environment. 
  • Half of respondents reported that the economy has forced a reduction in dedicated time or the total elimination of a medication safety officer (MSO) position or quality/risk management staff dedicated to medication safety. 
  • About 20% of respondents reported that medication errors have occurred in the past year in which changes due to the economic downturn were a contributing factor. 

(SOURCES: Institute for Safe Medication Practices, http://ismp.org; January 10, 2010; Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, January 19, 2010)