Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Highlights Issues During Patient Safety Awareness Week

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is partnering with Quality Insights of Pennsylvania (QIP) and consumer groups statewide to raise awareness of patient safety issues during Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 6-12).

"Patient Safety Awareness Week is a perfect time for everyone, healthcare providers, staff and patients, to think about what more can be done to improve patient safety," says Fran Charney, director of educational programs for the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. "This year the Authority has developed video message links for healthcare providers to review how to prevent wrong-site surgery, healthcare-associated infections and medication errors through verbal orders."

"To reach the consumer, the Authority provided over 1,500 booklets containing all of the Authority's consumer tips to consumer organizations statewide so they can help spread the word to patients and their families about how important it is that they participate in their healthcare," Charney adds.

The message video links are about one minute in length and contain a live person speaking to healthcare providers about the importance of following certain guidelines to prevent wrong-site surgery, healthcare-associated infections and medication errors through the use of verbal orders.

The consumer tip sheets cover a variety of topics that include: knowing the difference between do-not-resuscitate orders and a living will, medication errors, falls, infections, color-coded wristbands and the importance of knowing your medical history.

QIP asked the Authority to help spread the word with their materials developed for Patient Safety Awareness Week. QIP developed written tips on healthcare-associated infections, communication issues and falls. The Authority added written tips on wrong-site surgery and verbal orders.

Each day during Patient Safety Awareness Week, the Authority and QIP will send an email to healthcare providers highlighting one of the prevention topics. The Authority also provided Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory articles written on falls and communication issues to round out the materials.

"It's a great effort being made by the Authority and QIP to help each other reach a broader audience with the educational materials we're each providing for Patient Safety Week," Charney says. "Healthcare facilities are encouraged to work together to solve patient safety issues; it only makes sense for organizations like the Authority, QIP and others to share audiences to ensure the educational materials are being utilized by as many healthcare providers as possible."

The Authority also developed new pamphlets about the healthcare facility complaint process and patient advocacy. One pamphlet is written for the healthcare provider so they can review their complaint process and ensure they are using complaints made by a patient or family member as an opportunity to improve. The second pamphlet is written for the patient or family member to ensure they are aware of how the complaint process works in a healthcare facility. The pamphlet also encourages, when possible, for patients to take someone with them when they must use the healthcare system. Information about patient advocates is also provided.

Throughout the week, the Authority's Patient Safety Liaisons will be participating in hospital events within their regions. The Authority will also be at the Harrisburg State Capitol Monday, March 7, with its informational booth to kick off the week.

Patient Safety Awareness Week is a national observance sponsored by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) as an education and awareness-building campaign for improving patient safety at the local level. The theme for this year's commemoration is "Are you in? Involved. Informed. Invested." NPSF has made available literature, videos, handouts and other materials to assist healthcare institutions and professionals in encouraging patients to become more actively involved in their healthcare.