Complex, multi-layered health care systems can sometimes stray from patient safety considerations. Thus, International Patient Safety Day, observed on September 17, reminds us that patient safety is up to all of us. All relevant stakeholders in our health care process —patients, doctors, administrators — need to work together to ensure the safe delivery of health care.
International Patient Safety Day timeline
Dr. Christian Bernard performed the first human heart transplant.
Willem Kolff invented the artificial kidney dialysis machine.
A team of doctors in New York successfully completed surgery on a patient in Strasbourg, France using high speed telecommunications.
A study, published in the journal "Health Affairs," found that “an environment in which [hospital] staff freely speak up if they see something that may negatively affect a patient has been tied to overwhelmingly positive outcomes.
How to Observe International Patient Safety Day
Talk to you doctor
Doctor visits can be intimidating and doctors aren't always the best communicators. Maintain an open dialogue with your doctor about how you're feeling. This is one issue for which you can't talk too much.
Read the label
Errors in delivering and taking pharmaceuticals account for a significant portion of errors in patient safety. Make sure you read the labels on your medication to take the right dosage and don't be afraid to chat with your pharmacist about any questions related to your prescriptions.
Contribute to your own safety
Read up on best practices for maintaining good health and for ensuring your visit to the doctor or the hospital is as safe as possible. The World Health Organizations offers a host of resources on its website.
5 Ways To Increase Your Own Patient Safety
Make sure anyone involved in providing medical care to you knows about your allergies.
Don't just show up at the doctor's office or hospital; think about what you want to know and learn ahead of time.
Get an advocate
Sometimes you're not thinking at your best when getting treatment. Identify a family member or friend who can be your advocate to those providing your care.
Do your own research
Doctors know a lot, but there's no harm in digging into the facts yourself about any conditions you might have.
Why International Patient Safety Day is Important
It's a substantial problem
According to the World Health Organization, patient harm worldwide causes as many deaths as tuberculosis, and one out of every 10 hospital patients is harmed in some way during a visit to the hospital.
Nearly 15 percent of all healthcare spending is wasted dealing with events caused by a lack of keeping patients safe. Staying focused on patient safety can reduce healthcare costs and make health care delivery more efficient.
Administrative errors are rampant
There's a lot of paperwork involved in providing health care. More than any other issue, administrative errors contribute to a lack of patient safety. International Patient Safety Day is a reminder not just to patients, but to health care administrators to keep patient safety top of mind.
International Patient Safety Day dates