Clinical standards are benchmarks, measures or quality statements. They are created based on evidence-informed best practice guidelines to provide safe, high quality care.
Clinical standardization is the process through which standards and protocols for health care practitioners and learners are identified, adopted and put into practice.
Clinical standards are used every day to deliver health care. Evidence supports the use of clinical standards in health care delivery in terms of patient safety and health outcomes. Standardized hand hygiene measures for health care workers is a great example. A recent systematic review showed that both the World Health Organization technique and the Center for Disease Control technique reduced bacterial load on health care worker hands (Price, et al. 2018).
Another good example is medication reconciliation during patient transfer. A 2018 systematic review on the subject found that electronic medication reconciliation reduced discrepancies and improved safety (Wang, et al.)
By using established standards to organize and enter patient information electronically, such as date of specimen collection and elements of acuity assessment of patients presenting in the emergency department, we enable seamless integration of services in terms of the flow of patient information. With a new clinical information system on the horizon (One Person One Record) standardization of data elements will optimize integration now and into the future.
Right Information, Right Person, Right Time and Place
The One Person One Record (OPOR) program is a joint provincial initiative. The IWK and Nova Scotia Health are working towards achieving a seamless integration of clinical information systems to provide collaborative patient-centered care.
The work towards clinical standardization can be understood through four key domains:
Clinical standards are established by:
Healthtech (2019). Clinical documentation methodology [presentation]. Presented to IWK and NSHA February 5, 2019.
Price, L., Melone, L., McLarnon, N., Bunyan, D., Kilpatrick, C., Flowers, P., & Reilly, J. (2018). A systematic review to evaluate the evidence base for the World Health Organization's adopted hand hygiene technique for reducing the microbial load on the hands of healthcare workers. American journal of infection control, 46(7), 814-823.
Wang, H., Meng, L., Song, J., Yang, J., Li, J., & Qiu, F. (2018). Electronic medication reconciliation in hospitals: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy, 25(5), 245-250.