Join @theNPSF and Others for a Twitter Chat

Patient Safety: What Patients Want (and Need) to Know
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | 1:00-2:00 pm ET

Use the hashtag #PSAW17chat to join the conversation!



Background for the Chat

Estimates suggest that preventable harm in health care is a leading cause of death, disability, and long-term quality-of-life implications. The National Patient Safety Foundation considers preventable harm in health care to be a serious public health concern, not unlike obesity, motor vehicle crashes, or cancer.

A 2014 report from the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute states:

“While patients and families can play a critical role in preventing medical errors and reducing harm, the responsibility for safe care lies primarily with the leaders of health care organizations and the clinicians and staff who deliver care.”

So what do patients want—and need—to know about patient safety? How can clinicians and patients work as partners to make care safer?

In this Twitter Chat, the National Patient Safety Foundation and other participants will share information about common patient safety issues and practices.

Topics we will discuss during the chat include:

Communication as the Foundation for Safety

One study found that patients identified communication gaps as a safety issue. At the same time, patients and their loved ones do not always feel comfortable speaking up when they suspect a safety risk, fearing they may be labeled as “difficult.” 

We’ll talk about the greatest areas of risk for communication breakdowns and ways to improve communication between clinicians and patients/families to improve safety.

Issues that may come up in this topic segment include health literacy, transitions in care, managing referrals and test results, health information technology, and tools that can help patients and family members speak up when something does not seem right.

 Medication Safety

When patients report safety lapses they often fall into the same categories of harm in other reporting systems, with medication safety being an area of concern.  A majority of adults in US take at least one prescription medication. Medication safety is particularly challenging because there can be so many opportunities for safety lapses, from prescribing to dispensing to administration.

What steps do clinicians take to prevent medication errors? What steps should patients and families take to ensure safe use of medications? How does technology help or hinder medication safety?

Issues that may come up during this segment include the importance of keeping records of medication, taking medication as directed, how health information technology improved medication safety, and the chief types of medication adverse events that can occur.

Patient Experience, Patient Engagement, and Patient Safety

Research shows that patients who are actively involved in their health care can have a positive impact on safety. Yet patients and family members may have very different perceptions of safety lapses than their clinicians.

What is the difference between patient engagement and patient experience of care? How do they differ and where are the overlaps?

Issues that may come up during this segment include shared decision making, patient-reported outcomes, and how patients can get more involved and engaged in their own care and in the health system.

 Patient Safety Past and Future

We have seen pockets of success in patient safety over the years, for example, in the use of standardized practices to prevent central-line-associated bloodstream infections. But progress has been slow and fragmented.

What should the future of the patient safety field look like in order to accelerate progress? How do you hope things will have improved in the next 5 or 10 years?

Issues that may come up during this segment include approaches to ongoing patient safety challenges, the call for national oversight of patient safety, and how a public health approach may help accelerate and sustain improvement.

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The Institute for Healthcare Improvement salutes Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals for their generous support of this year's Patient Safety Awareness Week.