UHealth Promotes Patient Safety and Quality Initiatives During National Week

It is said that a patient’s health journey starts with a diagnosis, but according to the National Patient Safety Foundation, experts estimate that up to one in every 10 diagnoses is wrong, delayed or missed completely and that, collectively, diagnostic errors may account for 40,000 to 80,000 deaths in the United States annually. To further improve patient safety and quality initiatives that directly affect the University of Miami Health System, students, residents and fellows took part in various educational activities held in conjunction with National Patient Safety Awareness Week.

In addition to distributing educational resources and information to patients and staff, health professionals also competed in a Virtual Quality Improvement Contest, organized by Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, M.D., M.B.A., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer for UHealth, and Yvonne M. Diaz, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Chief Academic Officer for UHealth and Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education.

“Education and active involvement of our medical students and house staff in quality improvement and patient safety projects is a major area of focus at UHealth,” Vasiliu-Feltes said. “This national week affords our future generation of practitioners another opportunity to be aware of the most important quality and safety issues that need to be addressed in the current healthcare system. These initiatives also provide valuable mentorship and a sense of ownership for designing, planning and implementing a quality improvement project important for population health outcomes.”

Under this year’s theme, “Navigate Your Health…Safely,” students, residents and fellows submitted presentations focused on quality improvement ventures that could be implemented at UHealth.

Led by endocrinology fellow Lara Paraskos, M.D., the winning team presented “Admission Medication Reconciliation: Discontinuation of Oral Diabetic Medications.” The presentation focused on the importance of understanding medications for diabetic patients who are admitted to the hospital, which Paraskos says is an important patient safety issue.

“Current recommendations are to discontinue the majority of oral diabetic medications because they can put the patient at risk for adverse events, such as hypoglycemia and acute renal failure from contrast-induced nephropathy,” Paraskos said. “A detailed evaluation of the patient’s home regimen can help prevent these adverse events and lead to better inpatient blood glucose control and overall improved patient outcomes.”

In addition to Paraskos, contest team members included endocrinology fellows Daisy Acevedo, M.D., Melany Castillo, Jose Llinas, M.D., Alex Manzano, M.D., Ngina Muigai, M.D., Andreina Rojas, M.D., and Chengyu Xu, M.D.

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