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Patient Safety Begins with You

Posted by on February 28th, 2015 Posted in: The MAReport

Michelle Burda Sharing & Caring

Michelle Burda, Network and Advocacy Coordinator

Hospital librarians interested in patient safety, as well as those who provide healthcare information to the public, are often unsure of where to begin.  If you look at the topics on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Patient Safety Primer site, you will find that your stakeholders come from many disciplines, professions, and departments within your health care system or community.


Why is Advocacy Important?


The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) says that, “Everyone in the health care process plays a role in delivering safe care and by uniting together and sharing that common goal, we can make a difference in patient safety.  From patients to care providers, from the front lines to the executive suite, from the patient and family advocate to the corporate solutions provider — we are all united in the goal of keeping patients and those who care for them free from harm.”

How Can You Become a Patient Safety Advocate?

Be the “Go- To” resource for the latest information.  Find those sources that are unique, with quality information from the experts in the field.  Find organizations that post the most current information that will give clients an inside edge in future developments in patient safety.  Here are a few sources to help you get started.

Health IT

The Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology offers free webinars.  Inform your administrators and risk mangers about their current offerings, a 10-part Health IT and patient safety webinar series.  The webinars cover a wide range of topics, research, and programs, all related to using health IT to make patient care safer and to improving the safe use of health IT in our organizations.  Slides with audio will be available after the events.

Raise Awareness

Patient Safety Awareness Week

Take part in Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 8-14, or plan events for the entire month.  The NPSF’s theme for 2015 is “United in Safety.”  The focus of this campaign is patient engagement with an emphasis on the importance of developing a good relationship between providers and patients and their families.  “Enhanced communication begins with an informed and engaged patient and helps to lead to safer care” (http://www.npsf.org/).

The NPSF has developed quality educational and promotional materials for raising awareness in your institution or community.  You may also want to promote the free webcast on patient engagement that will be offered during this time.  Hold a communal viewing of the webinar and engage attendees in a discussion after the event.

Quality Filtering and Disseminating Information from Experts, Listservs, and Blogs

As you know there are millions of websites, listservs, and blogs.  But you want to find those that offer a unique perspective on timely topics in patient safety or ones that provide users with an insight into future developments in the field.  The following are good examples of what you may want to share with your stakeholders:


Global Health Delivery Online (GHDonline), a product of the Global Health Delivery Project, is a platform of expert-led communities where health care implementers collaborate to improve the delivery of health care.  GHDonline offers Expert Panels.  These are virtual, week-long events that bring together leading experts to share their knowledge and engage the community in discussion of key issues in the field.  Here are a few of the event topics:

  • Diagnostic Error Reduction:  Diagnostic errors can be fatal, and often involve common medical conditions. Join leading experts to discuss new research and strategies from the U.S. for reducing diagnostic errors.
  • Health Literacy to Patient Engagement:  Join the experts to discuss the effectiveness of health literacy initiatives in enabling patient self-care and navigation of the health care system.
  • Quality Improvement Strategies for Ambulatory Care Settings:  Learn about quality improvement programs in ambulatory care settings from leading experts and discuss experiences and ask questions about designing and implementing these programs.

From the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Web M & M is a case-based patient safety journal.  Also, there is AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network (PSNet).

Wachter’s World

Subscribe to the blog, Wachter’s World.

Robert Wachter is a national leader in the fields of patient safety and healthcare quality.  He is editor of AHRQ WebM&M, AHRQ Patient Safety Network and author of Internal Bleeding:  The Truth Behind America’s Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes and the classic primer in the field of patient safety, Understanding Patient Safety.

To help increase your patient safety knowledge base, in December 2014 MAR offered a class developed by NN/LM coordinators:  Patient Safety Resource Seminar Librarians on the Front Lineshttp://cech.mlanet.org/node/35 and http://nnlm.gov/training/patientsafety/.  The class focuses on ways librarians can become more involved in patient safety processes and activities – both within their institutions and organizations and in providing patient safety resources for health professionals, for administration and staff, and for patients and families.  Contact mburda@pitt.edu if you are interested in future offerings of the class or trainings.

Image of the author ABOUT Hannah Sinemus
Hannah Sinemus is the Web Experience Coordinator for the Middle Atlantic Region (MAR). Although she updates the MAR web pages, blog, newsletter and social media, Hannah is not the sole author of this content. If you have questions about a MARquee or MAReport posting, please contact the Middle Atlantic Region directly at nnlmmar@pitt.edu.

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This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Cooperative Agreement Number UG4LM012342 with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System.

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