Accidents related to medical devices are a worldwide problem and result in many deaths each year. It affects patients, relatives, health care workers and society. Due to the complexity of intensive care units (ICUs), such accidents lead to particularly serious consequences. The aim of this thesis was to identify patient safety aspects at ICUs in public and private hospitals in Bangladesh, in order to provide a basis for improving the quality of performance of devices as well as personnel, care and cost effectiveness. The objectives were to
a) compare the conditions of medical devices at ICUs in private and public hospitals,
b) increase understanding of errors, risks and accidents related to medical devices,
c) study reporting systems and communication between staff at ICUs and
d) find ways to minimize hazards related to medical equipment to ensure effective and safe use of devices.
Data was collected through interviews during field visits to six hospitals in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Interviews were held with the chiefs of the ICUs, physicians, nurses and technicians.
It was noticed that the admission fees to the public hospitals were lower and had more limited resources. Differences between public and private hospitals could be seen in the aspects of finance, the existence of a Biomedical Engineering Department, maintenance and calibration of medical equipment, further education of staff, working environment and infection control. The reporting systems for adverse events and communication about patients’ conditions between coworkers were weak at all hospitals. The procurement process was lengthy at all hospitals. Access to disposable items was limited at several hospitals.
The lower admission fee at the government hospitals results in the patients of these hospitals often having a lower income and status, thus less inclined to be critical of the received care.
A number of suggestions have been proposed in order to improve the work in the ICU. These include
a) following up rules made by the authorities to ensure they are implemented at each hospital,
b) increasing documentation of malfunctioning devices and adverse events,
c) nurses and physicians taking part in the procurement process,
d) establishing a Biomedical Engineering Department at all hospitals,
e) organizing workshops for health care workers,
f) developing biomedical products adapted for multiple time use and with less need for calibration,
g) providing more education for health care workers in infection control, management of specific devices, solutions to common technical problems, patient safety and user safety, for example using Information and Communication Technology tools (audio and audiovisual material) and discussion platforms as well as
h) constructing an internet forum for consultation on the abovementioned subjects for technicians.