National Patient Safety Awareness Week: United for patient safety

  • Published
  • By Michael Jones, patient safety manager
  • 6th Medical Group

It’s that time of the year again to celebrate the National Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW) March 10-16, 2019.

Our focus is to keep all healthcare constituents, from patient to provider, involved, informed and invested in making health care safe.

Patients and providers play separate roles in health care; however, by working as a team we can make a significant impact towards making health care safer. Constant communication and a clear understanding of healthcare issues can help prevent medical errors, and keep patients healthy and mission ready.

PSAW is sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF); this year’s theme emphasizes the fact that safety issues impact everyone.

The more we work together to advance patient safety, the more we all benefit from a safe health care system.

Now, more than ever before, in the health care community, there is a very strong desire on empowering patients and strengthening communication bonds between patient and provider teams. This viewpoint is fundamental to reducing preventable errors within the health care system.

Similarly important, is the need to understand the impact of cultural diversity in the healthcare settings, where cultural health beliefs, education and other factors can impact how patients understand their health care needs.

One of our highest priorities is to maximize value to the patient. Educating healthcare beneficiaries with the right tools, behaviors, attitudes and policies will further enhance their knowledge and will help to ensure the patient’s involvement in all aspects of their health care.

Being United for Patient Safety is the first step to becoming an engaged health care consumer. A good rule of thumb is to utilize the “Ask Me 3” questions, which every patient should ask of their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist:  

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do these things?

Each person involved in the health care process plays a critical role in delivering safe care, and by uniting together and sharing that shared goal, we can make a difference in patient safety.

For more information on Patient Safety Awareness Week, visit the NPSF webpage at