Table 3

Classification dimensions, as applied to describe five examples

DimensionPatient safety practice*
Catheter-related bloodstream-infection preventionUniversal protocolComputerised order entry/decision-support systemInterventions for falls preventionMedication reconciliation
SettingHospitalHospitalHospitalHospital, nursing homeAll
Individual activity versus organisational changeIndividualIndividualOrganisationalIndividualOrganisational
Temporal—one-time versus repeated/long-termOne-timeOne-timeOne-timeRepeatedRepeated
Pervasive in setting versus targeted to specific patientsTargetedPervasivePervasiveTargetedPervasive
Common versus rare event as targetCommonRareCommonCommonCommon
Patient safety practice maturity—established versus newNewNewEstablishedEstablishedNew
Controversy/conflicting evidenceNoNoYesYesYes
Degree of behavioural change requiredHighHighHighHighHigh
Sensitive to contextYesYesYesYesYes
  • * Catheter-related bloodstream-infection prevention—practices, policies, checklists to reduce the rate of infections acquired as a result of placement and maintenance of intravascular catheters in hospitalised patients.

    Universal protocol includes a preprocedure verification process (correct person, site and procedure); checklist to ensure that required elements (eg, equipment) are available and accurately matched to the patient; marking the procedure site; and time-out before starting procedure to verify the above (includes ensuring antibiotics given) (Joint Commission).

    Medication reconciliation is a formal process of identifying the most complete and accurate list of medications a patient is taking and using that list to provide correct medications for the patient anywhere within the healthcare system (Joint Commission).

    Computerised Order Entry/Decision Support System is the practice of clinical personnel entering orders into a computer which is then linked to other units and personnel required to execute the order. Often linked to decision support/alerts that can provide suggestions or default values for drugs or doses, flag suspected problems with allergies, dosing or drug-drug interactions, or provide reminders or guidelines at the time of drug ordering.

    Interventions for falls prevention involve practices and policies to reduce the rate of falls within healthcare facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes.