March 14, 2019

2019 Patient Safety Awareness Week

"Patient safety" issues might bring thoughts of leaving a sponge behind during a surgery or allowing a patient to fall while in the hospital, but it's so much more than that. A "medical error" occurs anytime there is an unintended action that results in additional treatment, disability or death.

For instance, when the doctor misdiagnoses your condition because he or she doesn't have enough information about you, that's a medical error. If you make the wrong treatment choice because you don't have enough information about your options for care, that's a medical error. Failing to have a process in place for effective patient-provider communication and shared decision making is a failure in patient safety. 

It's interesting to note that the five most frequent medical errors could all be prevented by practicing the fundamentals of health literacy. See my TARGET: MEDICAL ERRORS for a quick reference guide on how you and those you care for can be safer.