Patient Safety Awareness Week 2019

Annually, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) sponsors a weeklong event during the second full week of March to raise awareness around patient safety issues. Known as National Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW), the effort is designed to educate and engage healthcare professionals and the public-at-large through online web events, social media, local educational events, and posted materials. This year’s PSAW theme is “Bringing the Care Continuum Together.”

While PSAW is being held between March 10th and March 16th this year, the IHI reminds everyone that every day should be considered patient safety day. Some studies indicate that as many as 400,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are the result of medical error. Another study shows that quality and safety measures are making a difference.

The report recently released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) showed reductions of close to 910,000 hospital-acquired conditions, preventing 20,000 hospital deaths and saving $7.7 billion in health care costs. The report quantified conditions like adverse drug events, catheter-associated infections, pressure injuries, and more between 2014 and 2017. CMS officials point to ongoing patient safety awareness efforts and widespread implementation of recognized best practices as contributing to the improving results and raising the quality of care for all patients.

Patient Safety Awareness Week is a dedicated time where nurse managers and administrators plan awareness activities and other localized events to ensure that everyone is focused on health care safety and the role that they play in advancing patient safety. On Wednesday, March 13th from 2 -3 PM ET, IHI is presenting a one-hour webcast “Advancing Patient Safety Beyond the Hospital.” This free webcast covers the state of ambulatory patient safety in the U.S., the infrastructure needed to advance safety in these settings, and the importance of a safety culture and how team-based attitudes contribute to the success of safety improvement efforts. The webcast is designed for physicians, nurses, CPPS, administrators, and quality professionals. All registered attendees will earn one CE credit.

The Center for Patient Safety has put together a PSAW 2019 Toolkit which includes downloadable posters, web and social media images, and also ideas for ways to celebrate throughout the week to engage and encourage everyone to put patient safety first. There is also information about how you can organize an event of your own!

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