Monday, March 8, 2010

Patient Safety Week Observed in PA

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is using patient safety awareness week (Mar 7-13) to encourage everyone to check out some of the safety tips on its web page. This year's theme for the annual week is "Let's Talk! Healthy Conversations for Safer Healthcare." Authority Director of Educational Programs Fran Charney says patient safety needs to be a daily issue for healthcare providers and on a patient’s mind any time there are in contact with the medical community. Charney says, “Great strides have been made in the past year [and we need to] build upon those accomplishments, and find new ways to provide better care for our patients." However, Charney notes patient safety is not just the responsibility of the medical care provider. She says patients need to make sure they understand what is happening to them and, “have the necessary conversations to prevent medical errors." Charney says if a doctor or nurse starts to use medical jargon or becomes confusing in any way, the patient needs to ask them to stop and explain what they are saying. The Authority has sent several posters to healthcare providers to help remind them of patient safety issues from washing hands to reporting incidents. Charney says those reports are compiled and used to produce new materials. A list of safety tips and procedures for patients and providers can be found at the Patient Safety Authority’s web page. Charney says everyone should read those tips and keep them in mind the next time they visit a doctor’s office or other medical facility. "We know, through our data, how important patients and consumers are in helping to prevent medical errors so we encourage them to participate as much as possible in their healthcare," Charney says. "It is imperative for patients to form a partnership with their healthcare providers; without that partnership, patient safety can be jeopardized."

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