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Patient Safety (Complications)

Hospital complications are conditions a patient may sustain while receiving health care that reasonably could have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines.

UTMB ranks 7th out of 107 academic health centers nationally for safety of patient care.

PATIENT SAFETY is monitored using several measures:

  • The first measure is the Patient Safety for Selected Procedures Composite Score (PSI-90), which was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to reflect the overall frequency of potentially avoidable complications and adverse events that follow surgeries, procedures and childbirth. Common safety problems include the following:
    • Pressure ulcers
    • Iatrogenic pneumothorax (air or gas present in the pleural cavity as a result of a therapeutic intervention)
    • Blood stream infections (such as central venous catheter-related blood stream infections)
    • Postoperative hip fractures
    • Postoperative pulmonary embolisms (blockage in an artery in the lungs)
    • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
    • Postoperative sepsis (an infection that can occur when the surgical site or equipment is not properly sterilized or antibiotics are not administered properly)
    • Wound dehiscence (the sutures of a surgical wound open), and/or accidental puncture or laceration during a procedure.
  • The second measure we track to monitor patient safety is the number of Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSIs) that occur in patients. CLABSIs can occur when central line (like an IV) is inserted, except the tube is larger and inserted into a main blood vessel. This allows doctors and nurses to more easily give medications or fluids to critically-ill patients. If bacteria enter the body through the central line, however, it can cause a serious infection in the blood—most of these infections can be prevented with the correct insertion and cleaning of a central line.
  • The third measure we monitor is Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary system, which includes the bladder and the kidneys. If you have a urinary catheter, bacteria or yeast can travel along the catheter and cause an infection in your bladder or kidney.
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