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Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient safety is an element that should be top of mind for healthcare providers year-round. To promote and emphasize this cause, once a year the National Patient Safety Foundation leads a nationwide safety campaign during Patient Safety Awareness Week.

According to the NPSF, Patient Safety Awareness Week is designed to help lead “hospitals and health care organizations around the world in demonstrating their commitment to patient safety.”

This year’s weeklong event will take place from March 13 through March 19 and is centered on the universal theme of being “United in Safety.” The week aims to promote safety initiatives to patients and providers alike.

As a healthcare provider there are several measures you can take to increase the safety of your patients. One such effort is to promote health literacy and facilitate patient conversations within your practice. This entails working closely with patients to ensure they thoroughly understand all aspects of their treatment. Additionally, this effort is designed to help patients understand proper medication practices and potential treatment side effects.

In order to successfully communicate with patients, it is important that you use terms they are familiar with. Many times, this means finding a way to phrase and discuss terms outside of the common medical language. The NPSF has developed a Words to Watch Fact Sheet listing problem words and recommended alternatives to aid your practice in these efforts.

Another important step in increasing health literacy is to encourage patients to ask questions. The NPSF’s Ask Me 3 program can be used to promote and facilitate patient conversation. This program outlines three fundamental questions that should be discussed between patients and providers.

For further information on ways to incorporate patient safety measures at your practice, check out the NPSF’s document “Free From Harm”

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