Working to Increase Patient Safety and Reduce Medical Errors
A recent article estimates that as many as 400,000 incidents of preventable harm occur in the United States each year, resulting in approximately 100,000 deaths and a cost estimated at $60 billion. Patient Safety Awareness Week, from March 13th to 19th, provides an opportunity to encourage the issue of patient safety to be discussed openly among all of the health care stakeholders, purchasers, providers, plans, and patients.
A wide variety of resources, including toolkits, publications, webinars, and social media messages are available from:
- Foundation for Health Care Quality and Washington Patient Safety Coalition;
- Center for Patient Safety;
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement; and
- American Society for Health Care Risk Management.
Employers and purchasers of health care can help educate their members about the importance of high quality health care and what to look out for to reduce the likelihood of errors. The Washington Health Alliance’s Community Checkup offers several recommendations for what patients can do, including:
- talking with your doctor about concerns;
- taking steps to prepare for surgery and improve outcomes;
- knowing the signs and symptoms of infections; and
- getting smart about antibiotics.
For more patient safety recommendations and to see the Community Checkup results for the rate of falls with injury at the hospital, click here.