6 ways patient-provider teams can improve safety

In honor of the upcoming Patient Safety Awareness Week, the CMS Quality Improvement Organization Program is sharing facts and resources with both patients and providers to improve healthcare safety.

In the March issue of QIO News, the program has outlined the following six tips for patients and providers that can help both parties work as a team to improve care. For providers, the QIO Program suggests:

1. Remaining educated about how best to eliminate infections. Research from the CDC shows providers who are more aware of healthcare-associated infection problems are more likely to take preventive action, which can decrease HAIs by more than 70 percent.

2. Focusing efforts on reducing falls in nursing homes. According to the QIO Program, the average nursing home resident falls 2.6 times each year, so implementing exercise programs that improve residents' balance, strength and walking ability can help prevent falls and related injuries.

3. Prioritizing transparency with patients. Communication between patients and providers that is open, honest and comprehensible can pave the way toward improved outcomes, fewer errors, higher patient satisfaction and reduced costs.

For patients, the QIO Program recommends:

4. Keeping track of your health history. Assuming providers and caregivers always have up-to-date records on medications, allergies and previous care doesn't make it so. Patients should actively participant in their care by knowing their health history and keeping personal records.

5. Asking questions. Providers should work on ensuring patients understand the information they are being given, but patients shouldn't be afraid to ask questions about terms being used, treatment plans, ordered tests or signs of infection.

6. Calling out hand hygiene noncompliance. Patients should feel empowered and comfortable telling providers to wash their hands each time they enter the room or before they make physical contact. Doing so might just save their life.



More articles on patient safety:
GAO: 3 barriers hospitals face when implementing patient safety practices
Arizona State Hospital self-inspection highlights gaps in patient safety
Patient safety tool: Toolkit provides tips for safe use of copy/paste in healthcare

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