As a hospitalist you are likely faced with keeping up with multiple patients, their medical conditions, and the continuation of quality care on a daily basis. When consulting with and ultimately providing treatment plans for patients, it is important to remember to confer with nurses, other specialists and even outside providers to be sure you are covering all bases. By setting aside pride, going the extra mile, and practicing something called “double-checking”, hospitalists can help clarify clinical direction with other colleagues. Providers who participate in double-checking are considerably more likely to improve patient safety by doing their part to eliminate an array of medical errors.
The process of double-checking usually requires training and a dedicated environment of medical professionals willing to follow certain protocols. Although it can seem robust at first, once this method is in place as the standard of care, hospitalists and their colleagues can rest assured that engaging in double-checking can help mitigate mistakes.
So, what is double-checking?
Double-checking is the practice of preventing medical inaccuracies and improving patient safety by utilizing cross-collaboration between health care staff and providers. This can include reviewing a colleague’s work and care plan or having your own work or care plan reviewed by a colleague or team.
A few rational checks a hospitalist can make with their team include asking the following:
- Do I have the right patient?
- What are the prescribed medications the patient is taking? Are they correct? Is the dosing appropriate?
- Does the patient have any allergies to medications, especially any that you have considered administering?
- Does the medication’s indication match the patient’s diagnosis or health condition?
- Have the proper monitoring tests been ordered? Are the test results verified as belonging to the correct patient?
- Have you created a checklist as a reminder of following specific processes with the patient?
- Have you spoken to other practitioners or team members about your plan of care?
- Have you followed up with specialists outside of your scope of expertise?
Until signing off on your own work, it can be critical to double-check and lessen the probability for any oversights.
For organizations that do not regularly practice double-checking, some hospitalists may take offense to the idea of being questioned or receiving pushback. It’s important in these situations for hospitalists to put aside their egos and not become emotionally charged or overreact. It’s also just as important for those doing the double-checking to be respectful in the way they ask questions. One of the biggest points to remember is that the practice of double-checking is not something to be taken as a personal insult, but rather a way to help patients receive the best care possible.
Whether you practice double-checking, or are interested in learning more about it, there is always room for improvement. If you don’t have any sort of peer-review program within your medical group, perhaps you can be a catalyst for positive change at your workplace and challenge the status quo by introducing the idea of double-checking.
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Contact Advanced Care Hospitalists to Learn More
ACH is a Lakeland-based hospitalist group providing comprehensive patient care in community hospitals across Central Florida. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, services, providers or becoming a partner facility, please call us at 863-816-5884 or fill out a contact form online.