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March12–18

Patient Safety Awareness Week – March 12-18, 2023

Patient Safety Awareness Week takes place in March and this year, it takes place from March 12 to 18. Patient Safety Awareness Week is an event that was created to encourage education on healthcare safety. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 2.6 million deaths are due to unsafe care in hospitals in developed and developing countries. Through Patient Safety Awareness Week, the Institute for Health Care Improvement hopes to promote important discussions locally and internationally that will lead to improved healthcare safety for caregivers, patients, and the healthcare systems in general.

History of Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient Safety Awareness Week is a week-long observation initiated by the National Patient Safety Foundation in 2002. This annual event was created to stimulate discussions on how patient safety can be maximized in healthcare systems. During Patient Safety Awareness Week, the public receives educational information to better equip them in making informed healthcare decisions. In a 2019 report by the WHO, it was revealed that one in every 10 patients in High-income countries suffers from harm resulting from poor safety in the healthcare system.

Reports of medical errors and breached patient safety date as far back as the 1960s. It was not until the early 1990s that the patient safety movement picked up. The patient safety movement followed a publication report by Leape and Brennan of breached patient safety in 30,000 hospitalized New York State patients back in 1984. The reason for the breach was narrowed down to preventable medical errors. It was also discovered that about 1.3 million injuries and 180,000 deaths could have been prevented across the United States.

The medical errors compromising patient safety cannot be entirely attributed to medical staff alone, but to all aspects of the healthcare system, according to Leape’s book “Error in Medicine,” published in 1994. Patient Safety Awareness Week highlights the role that medical staff and patients need to play to assure overall safety. Patient Safety is not the responsibility of a single individual, but a collective responsibility of healthcare systems, healthcare workers, and patients.

Patient Safety Awareness Week timeline

1997
The National Patient Safety Foundation

The National Patient Safety Foundation is created to promote the safety of patients and healthcare providers.

2001
A $532 Million-Dollar Award

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality awards $532 million for research in patient safety.

2002
Patient Safety Awareness Week

The National Patient Safety Foundation initiates Patient Safety Awareness Week.

2002
The World Health Assembly Resolution

The World Health Assembly passes the WHA55.18 resolution on actions to promote patient safety in various countries.

2017
The N.P.S.F. and I.H.I. merge

The National Patient Safety Foundation merges with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to form a single organization.

Patient Safety Awareness Week FAQs

Why is patient safety important?

Patient safety is important because it prevents avoidable errors and patient harm.

What are the top medical errors?

Misdiagnosis, faulty medical devices, and medication errors are among the most frequent medical errors.

What are the seven national patient safety goals?

They are: correctly identify patients, improve staff communication, use medicines safely, use alarms safely, prevent infection, identify patient safety risks, and prevent mistakes in surgery.

How to Observe Patient Safety Awareness Week

  1. Join the online lecture

    Several online discussion forums for healthcare professionals and stakeholders are organized throughout this celebration. Participate in the observance of Patient Safety Awareness Week by registering and joining one of these online lectures organized by the N.S.P.F. on safety awareness and protocols.

  2. Share on social media platforms

    Share posts or hashtags to create awareness of the importance of patient safety. You could share your experience or expertise and have others learn from you.

  3. Read up on patient safety

    Read journals or articles on patient safety and the role patients, relatives, and healthcare workers have to play to protect and ensure patient safety. Learn about important resources and tips to ensure patients' safety.

5 Important Facts About Patient Safety

  1. The most common patient safety issues

    The most common issues of patient safety are misdiagnosis, wrong prescriptions, and drug misuse.

  2. Surgery complications threaten patient safety

    Poor surgery methods and after-care procedures lead to complications that often result in the death of patients.

  3. Admitted hospital patients suffer infections

    About a 10th of hospitalized patients contract a healthcare-related infection.

  4. It’s among the common causes of death

    Patient safety breach is one of the top 10 causes of death and disability globally.

  5. Most cases of patient harm are preventable

    Up to 80% of patient harm can be prevented.

Why Patient Safety Awareness Week is Important

  1. It honors patients lost to medical harm

    The patient safety awareness week acts as a memorial. It honors the many lives lost because of poor medical safety.

  2. It raises awareness

    It helps raise global awareness about the importance of safety for patients, healthcare workers, and the healthcare systems. This helps foster a greater level of precaution among healthcare professionals.

  3. It promotes patient safety education

    The celebration promotes patient safety education. Educating the public on the roles even patients have to play to ensure their safety and health.

Patient Safety Awareness Week dates

YearDateDay
2022March 13Sunday
2023March 12Sunday
2024March 10Sunday
2025March 9Sunday
2026March 8Sunday

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