Patient Safety Awareness Week is March 8-14, 2020. This week is intended to serve as a dedicated time and platform for growing awareness about patient safety and recognizing the work already being done. The statistics are alarming.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are an estimated 134 million adverse events each year resulting in an estimated 2.6 million deaths.; 40 percent of patients experience harm in ambulatory and primary care settings with an estimated 80 percent of these harms being preventable.
- Studies indicate that approximately 400,000 deaths occur in the United States each year as a result of errors or preventable harm.
One challenge is that these patient safety data points can become a bit like the hum of monitors on the unit. We hear it, but we don’t hear it. It is hard to connect public health data to the day-to-day work of direct patient care, and it is easy to feel helpless.
Yet, there are many ways clinicians can impact patient safety, including providing education during interactions with patients. Educating patients is a core component of clinical practice and can have a huge impact on patient safety.
Let’s look at some tangible resources that you can use to educate your patients to keep them safe:
- Ask Me 3: Consider talking to patients about this educational program that encourages patients and families to ask three specific questions of their providers to better understand their health conditions and what they need to do to stay healthy. The questions are: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do this?
- Tell your patients about the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s QuestionBuilder app which helps patients and caregivers prepare for medical appointments and maximize visit time.
- Clean Hands Count Campaign: This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s campaign aims to improve healthcare provider adherence to CDC hand hygiene recommendations, address the myths and misperceptions about hand hygiene and empower patients to play a role in their care by asking or reminding healthcare providers to clean their hands.
Sometimes the smallest actions can have the biggest impact. Consider incorporating one of the above initiatives into your clinical practice!
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