How Can Hospital Policies Lead to Errors?

In your workplace, the policies and procedures of the company guide you in the proper way of doing your job. In a New Mexico health care setting, good policies and procedures can save your life–or cause serious harm.

According to Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare, administrators and others who develop policies and procedures should follow these guidelines:

  • Provide definitions for any terms that are used
  • Avoid absolutes such as “must” or “do not” unless they are necessary
  • Name the policy in a way that is easily recognized and understood
  • Combine similar policies so there is no confusion between them
  • Explicitly state who is responsible for carrying out actions defined in the policy

When new policies are implemented, every health care worker who is affected should be informed of the changes ahead of time. This includes part-time workers, temporary employees and others who may be caring for you during off hours, nighttime shifts and weekends, for example. 

All policies should define expectations that meet the accepted standard of care. This may seem vague, but it basically indicates that the health care provider or hospital staff who treats you must act in a manner that any reasonable professional in that position would in the same situation. If two policies seem to indicate different standards of care, it could lead to circumstances where you receive treatment that is not as effective as someone else in the same facility receives.

This information about hospital policies and procedures is general in nature. Therefore, it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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