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National Patient Safety Awareness Week: Why It's So Important

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on March 11, 2020 at 1:33 PM

It seems like every other week we learn about some new workplace awareness initiative or event. Whether it’s Take Your Kids to Work Day, National Organ Donor Day, or less serious events like National Kraut and Frankfurter Week, there’s always something on the calendar. This makes it all too easy to get overwhelmed.

But hidden in all this noise, there are some very important workplace events that deserve as much attention as possible. One of these is National Patient Safety Awareness Week. Here’s exactly what this week is all about and just why it’s so crucial to observe it.

What Is National Patient Safety Awareness Week, Anyway?

National Patient Safety Awareness Week is an annual event that’s designed to encourage better awareness about health care and patient safety.

This event is led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in order to make it easier to encourage important discussions on healthcare safety, both locally and around the world. The IHI says it hopes raising awareness of patient safety will inspire actions to improve healthcare safety not just for patients but also for healthcare workers as well.

The week serves two goals: first, it showcases the good work already being done to provide better patient safety in a healthcare environment. Second, it highlights ways in which patient safety can be improved in a number of ways, from new approaches and techniques to emergent technologies that can be leveraged to provide higher patient safety levels.

Why Do We Need Patient Safety Awareness?

Modern medical science has come a long way in a very short time, and methods for treating illness and injury that we use today are light-years ahead. Plenty of progress has also been made in patient safety, especially lately, but there’s still plenty of evidence showing that we have much farther to go. The World Health Organization says that a full 80 percent of patients harmed during treatment could be avoided through better patient safety awareness.

With some 400,000 deaths in the U.S. alone attributed to poor or failed safety issues every year, patient safety awareness is obviously a hot-button issue. Even in cases of harm that don’t result in death, complications from poor patient safety could be long-lasting or even permanent, and that makes supporting better patient safety awareness even more important in the long run.

Combine that with the productivity and funds lost to damages from insurance payouts and malpractice lawsuits and it’s obvious that there’s an organizational need for better patient safety that goes above and beyond preventing further harm.

Better Patient Safety Benefits Everyone

For all of the above reasons and many more, National Patient Safety Awareness Week should be at the forefront of your mind. There’s always room to explore better ways to provide higher levels of safety to patients in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and ambulatory care centers.

Better patient safety translates to fewer deaths and complications, better work environments for health services professionals, and just a generally healthier population both in the United States and worldwide.

Further Reading: Hospitals Focus on Patient Safety, Security

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, Hospital & Health Care, Safety Management, Safety Observances

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