• 5 Ways to Improve Patient Safety and Stay Out of Trouble

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    Ensuring patient safety takes more than good surgical skills. During a session Oct. 16 at AAO 2016, Richard Abbott, MD, moderated a discussion about what young ophthalmologists need to know to maximize patient safety in the clinic and the OR. Here are five pearls from the panel.

    1. Ensure open communication between all those involved in procedures. This is essential to any patient-safety protocol. Know the names of your staff in both the clinic and the operating room. Create a culture in which everyone involved feels safe to point out things that don’t look right.

    2. Use standardized checklists. This ensures you perform the correct procedures on the correct patient’s correct eye with the correct IOL. Both the surgeon and nursing staff should verify these checklists against the patient’s preoperative consent form.

    For checklists regarding surgical safety and protecting against wrong site/wrong IOL, check out “Ophthalmic Surgical Task Force Surgery Checklist – 2012” and “Recommendations of American Academy of Ophthalmology Wrong-Site Task Force – 2014.”

    3. Collect and analyze your outcomes data. The IRIS® Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight), free for Academy members, provides a very helpful way to automate data collection and evaluate your performance. You can also use it to benchmark yourself against others in your practice or practices around the country.

    4. Take time to review your data and form a plan for improvement. Education and system processes play a vital role in making changes that will help increase patient safety.

    5. Don’t process medical errors alone. Taking time to seek help from other colleagues and mentors can have a significant emotional impact and help prevent future problems. See how sharing complications with others helped Tom Oetting, MD, grow as a surgeon.