The Patient Partner: There is a 'You' in team!
A column for patients, for better care, for life
Aug 13, 2012, 10:03 a.m.
The Obama Administration has launched a new initiative for patient safety called the Partnership for Patients. The goal is to help improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care for all Americans. The Partnership for Patients brings together hospital leaders, employers, physicians, nurses, and patient advocates along with state and federal government in a shared effort to make hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly.
Unfortunately, an alarming number of patients are harmed by medical mistakes in the health care system and far too many die prematurely as a result. Armed with a little knowledge, you can help prevent that. We need you. Your physicians, nurses, and other health care providers work incredibly hard to deliver the best care possible for you – their patients. Be part of the healthcare team and play a very important role in your own health care. You’ve heard the saying, ‘knowledge is power.’ The more you know about the medications you take before you go into the hospital and which ones to take after hospital discharge can save your life. Did you know that not washing your hands could cause an infection that could kill you? Something so simple, so easy, so preventable, can change your life forever. It’s OK to ask your physician or nurse ‘did you wash your hands?’ They will thank you. You will thank them! These are just a few of the many areas that health care is targeting for significant improvement within this Partnership.
The goals of The Partnership for Patients are to:
•Keep patients from getting injured or sicker in the hospital. This would mean approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients with more than 60,000 lives saved by 2013!
•Help patients heal without complication. By the end of year 2013, preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another would be decreased so that all hospital readmissions would be reduced. Achieving this goal would mean more than 1.6 million patients would recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization within 30 days of discharge.
This is a Call to Action. We are asking you, the patient, to get involved in your own healthcare. Be part of the team. Request to attend a board meeting at your local hospital. Find out what patient advocacy programs are in your area. Educate yourself on how to stay healthy in and out of the hospital. All too often, patients are injured in the course of receiving care. There is much more work to be done to prevent unnecessary harm. We need you to be part of the team along with knowledgeable providers. Speak up and tell your providers what you need. If you don’t understand something, ask.
Please read this column each month to learn various ways to stay healthy while receiving care. For more information on the Partnership for Patients initiative please visit http://www.healthcare.gov/compare/partnership-for-patients.
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