The AHRQ recently published an update to its landmark 2001 report, Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices (AHRQ Evidence Report No. 43). This report advocated evidence-based practices such as root cause analysis, hand hygiene, ID bracelets for high risk patients, and time-outs prior to procedures.
The 2013 update analyzed 41 patient safety practices and identified 22 which were deemed ready for adoption. Ten were selected as “strongly encouraged” for adoption based on the strength and quality of evidence. Number nine on that list was “Use of real-time ultrasound for central line placement.”
A special supplement to the March issue of Annals of Internal Medicine features articles related to many of these patient safety strategies, and is available for free online.
Looking through the top ten list, most interventions are implemented at most major hospitals, and JCAHO surveyors track adherence to guidelines such as these. Now that ultrasound use has made the top ten in two iterations of these AHRQ safety practices, it may be more difficult to argue that lack of availability or proper training absolves providers of the need to provide this service.