March 14th through the 21st is recognized as Patient Safety Awareness Week. This week focuses on ways healthcare professionals can continue to improve patient safety practices and decrease instances of adverse patient safety events. According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, adverse patient safety events can include:
- Diagnostic errors
- Medication errors
- Preventable hospital readmissions
Ensuring patient safety is a vital part of medical care and a key component of a quality healthcare experience. Did you know that as the patient, you play a vital role in ensuring you receive safe and quality healthcare? Patients can act as a second layer of defense and may even catch potential mistakes made by their providers. Patients can also prompt providers to engage in safer behaviors and communicate with providers about medical issues that could prevent a potential safety event in the future.
Unfortunately, many patients feel apprehensive about speaking up to their providers and giving their input. It is important for patients to know that their input and questions are valued. The AHRQ Patient Safety Network developed a list of questions patients should ask before, during, and after an appointment with a healthcare provider, especially related to any new issues or treatment suggestions. Some of the questions recommended include:
- What is this test for?
- How many times have you done this procedure?
- When will I get the results?
- Why do I need this treatment?
- Are there any alternatives?
- What are the possible complications?
- Which hospital is best for my needs?
- How do you spell the name of that drug?
- Are there any side effects?
- Will this medicine interact with medicines that I’m already taking?
By asking the right questions, patients and providers engage in open dialogue that could shed light on potential errors and safety concerns that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Outside of your visits with your healthcare provider, maintaining communication in-between visits is extremely important as well. For example, at Heyl Family Practice and Genesis Medical, patients have access to the patient portal. This allows for patients to access their records, communicate with providers and proactively plan for future appointments. This is also a way to provide feedback on your experience and communicate any concerns or errors that may have come up at your most recent visit or in the records you check through the portal.
Although your healthcare providers have the training and education that ensures quality care, you have the lifelong knowledge of your body and what has worked (or not worked) in the past. Together, an empowered patient and experienced professional healthcare provider can create the perfect partnership and ensure your safety remains a priority. At Heyl Family Practice, we value having our patients as an active member of their healthcare team. We appreciate patients that ask questions, engage open conversations about treatment options and seek to learn about their needs proactively.
We know that good rapport between patients and providers will reinforce open and honest communication which is why establishing great relationships with our patients is so important to us. If you are seeking a healthcare team that can provide this type of experience, Heyl Family Practice is accepting new patients. We would love to provide you a safe space where your needs will be met and your input regarding your care will be valued. Contact us to set up an appointment with a provider today.