Sunday October 20, 2019

WHO Calling for Urgent Action to End Bad Health Care Practices Responsible for Killing Millions of Patients

WHO issued a report in advance of the first World Patient Safety Day on September 17

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WHO, Health Care, Patients
Intravenous bags hang above young cancer patients at Rady's Children Hospital in San Diego, California, Sept. 4, 2019. VOA

The World Health Organization is calling for urgent action to end bad health care practices responsible for killing millions of patients around the world every year.  WHO issued a report in advance of the first World Patient Safety Day on September 17.

People who fall ill go to their doctor or sign themselves into a hospital in the expectation of receiving treatment that will cure them. Unfortunately, in many cases the treatment they receive will kill them

The World Health Organization reports one in 10 patients is harmed in high-income countries. It says 134 million patients in low-and-middle-income countries are harmed because of unsafe care leading to 2.6 million deaths annually. WHO notes most of these deaths are avoidable.

Neelam Dhingra-Kuram is WHO coordinator of Patient Safety and Risk Management. She said harm occurs mainly because of wrong diagnosis, wrong prescriptions, the improper use of medication, incorrect surgical procedures and health care associated infections.

WHO, Health Care, Patients
The World Health Organization is calling for urgent action to end bad health care practices responsible for killing millions of patients around the world every year. Pixabay

“But the major reason for this harm is that in the health care facilities, in the system there is lack of patient safety culture. And, that means that the leadership is not strong enough…So, lack of open communication, lack of systems to learn from mistakes and errors. So, already suppose errors are happening and harm is taking place. If you do not learn from it, it is really a lost opportunity,” she said.

Dhingra-Kuram said systems must be created where health care workers are encouraged to report mistakes and are not fearful of being blamed for reporting errors.

Besides the avoidable and tragic loss of life, WHO reports patient harm leads to economic losses of trillions of dollars globally each year. It says medication errors alone cost an estimated $42 billion annually.

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On the other hand, WHO says a study in the United States finds safety improvement in patient care has resulted in estimated savings of $28 billion in Medicare hospitals between 2010 and 2015. (VOA)

Next Story

Smartphones Can Also Help Patients to Take Medicines on Time: Research

This study tested the impact of a smartphone application on medication compliance

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Smartphone
Researchers have found that a simple Smartphone apps can be a cost effective way of helping these patients take their medicines for the period prescribed. Pixabay

The smartphones are now frequently blamed for a lot of health problems, but it appears that the device may also have a positive impact on heart patients.

Researchers have found that a simple app can be a cost effective way of helping these patients take their medicines for the period prescribed, thereby reducing risk of premature death.

Following a heart attack, patients are prescribed medications to prevent another event.

However, one in four patients discontinue at least one drug in the first 30 days after discharge from hospital.

This leads to poor symptom control and an increased likelihood of rehospitalisation and premature death. There is currently no simple and cost-effective strategy to improve adherence.

The study presented at the 45th Argentine Congress of Cardiology (SAC 2019) held in Buenos Aires showed that heart patients using a smartphone app reminder are more likely to take their medication than those who receive written instructions.

Smartphone
For those assigned to the Smartphone group, the prescribed medication schedule was uploaded to the digital application, and an alarm would ring each time a pill should be taken. Pixabay

“We hypothesised that the app would increase adherence by 30 per cent, but the impact was even greater,” said study author Cristian M. Garmendia, of the Cardiovascular Institute of Buenos Aires.

“Patients using the app were alerted to take their pills. They also had better knowledge about why they had been prescribed each medication and could check compliance with their doctor.”

This study tested the impact of a smartphone application on medication compliance. A total of 90 heart attack patients admitted to hospital were randomly allocated to the app or detailed written information (standard care).

Adherence to medical treatment was measured at 90 days using the Morisky Medical Adherence Scale (MMAS-8).

Smartphones
The smartphones are now frequently blamed for a lot of health problems, but it appears that the device may also have a positive impact on heart patients. Pixabay

For those assigned to the smartphone group, the prescribed medication schedule was uploaded to the digital application, and an alarm would ring each time a pill should be taken.

After taking the pills, patients confirmed it in the application. Doctors could check daily adherence using a professional digital platform linked to the patient’s smartphone.

The average age of patients in the study was 63 years.

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At 90 days, significantly more patients in the digital application group were correctly taking their pills (65 per cent) compared to those who received standard care (21 per cent), said the study. (IANS)