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Focusing on Patient Safety Awareness Week

March 15, 2022 Pegalis Law Group

March 13-19 is Patient Safety Awareness Week, a time to reflect on what’s being done in the healthcare industry to ensure patients receive the best possible care. Focusing on patient safety allows crucial discussions to take place. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates as many as 2.6 million worldwide deaths are caused by unsafe hospital care or preventable medical errors, with about 400,000 occurring in the United States every year. As an advocate for proactive patients, Pegalis Law Group, LLC takes a look at the healthcare industry’s initiatives to improve patient safety in 2022 and beyond.

Why Public Patient Safety Awareness Initiatives Matter

Patient safety is a public health concern that affects us all. From annual checkups to treatment for emergencies or chronic conditions, everyone will need healthcare throughout their lifetime. As a patient, you have the right to receive safe, timely care from qualified professionals. Although the U.S. healthcare system is recognized as being among the world’s best, it’s not perfect. Mistakes still happen, many of which are avoidable and some of which have dire consequences. Patient safety awareness identifies problem areas in the healthcare system and addresses them to prevent adverse effects.

Current Initiatives to Improve Patient Safety at Hospitals

The healthcare industry has identified several ways to improve patient care this year. Their primary areas of focus include the following:

  • Better Staff Communication – Many medical errors can be prevented through better staff communication at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Communication between medical staff and patients is essential to diagnosis and treatment. Providing accurate information about treatment options and test results can help broaden perspectives and make patients feel confident about their care. It also helps staff avoid making diagnostics-related errors.
  • Accurate Patient Identification – Have you ever wondered why healthcare facilities ask for your name and date of birth every time someone new comes to speak with you about your care? This is to ensure they have the right patient. Using at least two ways to identify patients helps staff identify patients correctly to ensure they receive the proper treatment and medicines.
  • Safer Medicine Use – Labeling medicines correctly ensures fewer medical mistakes related to dosages and medicine use. Staff should label everything being used (syringes, cups, basins, etc.) where the medical equipment and supplies are set up and verify patient information every time. You should notice staff asking about your medical history to compare past medicines to new ones. This is why your doctor asks you for an up-to-date medicine list during every visit.
  • Prevent Infection – Medical staff follows sanitization guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO to reduce the risk of infection, especially in the time of COVID. Patient safety has been paramount during the pandemic, as healthcare workers have had to make adjustments to anticipate the needs of COVID-19 positive patients. It’s up to medical staff to identify potential patient safety risks and take steps to prevent these threats. You should notice staff wearing personal protective equipment and hand washing often. Post-operation antibiotics are often prescribed to protect patients from infections.
  • Prevent Surgery Errors – Thanks to healthcare simulations, medical staff can practice surgical procedures and techniques on mannequins capable of mimicking human physiology (simulating breathing, blood pressure, and heart sounds) to prevent errors. Staff should always mark the correct place on a patient’s body where they will be doing the surgery. Before surgery, there should be a pause to ensure everything is being done correctly and to the right patient. Staff should also frequently check device alarms on medical equipment to ensure they’re functioning.

Patient Safety Awareness Should Improve Universal Healthcare

As a New York-based personal injury and medical malpractice law firm, Pegalis Law Group, LLC wants to create public awareness about patient safety to improve universal healthcare measures. Please visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to receive additional insights about how you can be more proactive about your family’s healthcare this year and beyond.