Medline: Five Things Healthcare Organizations Can Do to Improve Patient Safety Today

Improving outcomes through communication, products and practice during Patient Safety Awareness Week and beyond

MUNDELEIN, Ill.--()--According to a recent CDC survey, 83 percent of adults had contact with a healthcare professional. Studies also show that in developed countries, as many as one in 10 patients are harmed while receiving hospital care. Patient safety is a serious public health issue. And while it cannot be improved overnight, there are best practices healthcare organizations can put into place now to enhance patient outcomes.

During Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 13-19), Medline, a global medical supplies company that offers products, clinical solutions, and education to help improve patient safety, shares five tips.

Enhance Communication

Communication failures have been linked to 1,744 patient deaths in five years and $1.7 billion in malpractice costs. Healthcare organizations must consider techniques to enhance how members of the care team communicate with each other and also with their patients.

Medical Improv, for example, is an experiential learning process in which improvisational theatre training techniques are used in the field of medicine to promote individual and organizational behaviors associated with safe and compassionate patient care. Nurse and author Beth Boynton recently talked about how healthcare organizations can implement Medical Improv at their facilities. Check out the post at Medline’s “The Voices of Healthcare” by visiting

Approach Infection Prevention Differently

The annual cost of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) is more than $1 billion. The cost per patient: more than $16,000. Knowing that vascular access devices (VADs) are the most frequent cause of healthcare-associated bloodstream infections, clinicians can’t always count on “scrub the hub” technique for prepping the line for entry. That’s why Medline now offers the only disinfection cap available integrated into a flush syringe called SwabFlush. Not only does it provide an aseptic, non-touch application solution, but the patented syringe design helps increase compliance, which can help reduce associated CLABSI even further. In addition, it provides clinicians with operational efficiencies which means more time with patients. Healthcare providers should also consider ways to approach everyday tasks like handling textiles with awareness and thought to help minimize cross contamination.

Products to Support Practice

Falls are one of the most troubling patient safety issues. Between 700,000 and 1 million patients fall each year in hospitals. To help improve patient outcomes, healthcare organizations must be armed with products that can help clinicians identify which patients are fall risks. Consider using vibrant color-coded gowns and gripper slipper socks to easily denote patients at risk of falling. Facilities should also consider technology that makes it easier for caregivers and patients to reduce falls. Medline’s Smart Light Outlet automatically turns on a light to illuminate dark rooms when the patient gets up from the bed pad.

Reduce Workplace Hazards

Patient care can suffer when healthcare workers are injured. According to a survey, 71 percent of nurses reported having musculoskeletal pain at work and they are also 4.5 more likely to suffer from dermatitis from constant handwashing. Healthcare organizations can establish safe patient handling programs to train staff on how to use the lifting equipment and proper way to move and position patients. To help increase hand hygiene compliance rates, consider hand hygiene compliance programs that introduce proper products bundled with education.

Never Stop Learning

A healthcare worker’s education is never complete. They must constantly learn new ways to practice at the top of their license to enhance patient safety. The American Nurses Association (ANA) offers nurses hundreds of programs to help nurses continue their career growth. Additionally, as online courses tend to offer convenience, Medline University offers more than 250 free courses on such topics as safe patient handling, effective communication strategies and infection prevention.

“Safety is a cornerstone of a hospital’s success and requires everyone’s participation – organizational leaders, caregivers, vendors and patients,” said Martie Moore, chief nursing officer, Medline. “Healthcare workers are the eyes and ears of patients, but in order to establish a culture of safety, they require proper tools and ongoing education.”

In honor of Patient Safety Awareness Week, Medline has launched a survey to hear from healthcare professionals what their top patient safety concerns are. Follow Medline on Twitter and Facebook for more conversations and tips on patient safety.

About Medline

Medline is a global manufacturer and distributor serving the healthcare industry with medical supplies and clinical solutions that help customers achieve both clinical and financial success. Headquartered in Mundelein, Ill., the company offers 350,000+ medical devices and support services through more than 1,200 direct sales representatives who are dedicated points of contact for customers across the continuum of care. For more information on Medline, go to or to connect with Medline on its social media channels.


Stacy Rubenstein, (847) 949-2286

Release Summary

During Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 13-19), Medline shares five things healthcare organizations can do to improve patient safety today.


Stacy Rubenstein, (847) 949-2286