Patients At Risk.
Patient safety continues to be a pressing issue and strain on our healthcare system. The 1999 report released from the Institute of Medicine concluded that as many as 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year as a result in lapses in patient safety. The Agency for Healthcare and Quality reports that preventable medical errors cost the economy $17 to $29 billion a year.
The Agency for Healthcare and Quality suggests the following Five Steps to Safer Healthcare that you can observe for yourself and your loved ones who are hospitalized.
- Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns. Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers – take a friend or relative to help you ask questions and understand responses.
- Keep and bring a list of ALL of the medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements, and any allergies or bad reactions to medicines/anesthesia.
- Get the results of any test or procedure. Do not assume that your results are fine if you have not heard anything – ask when your results will be ready, and follow-up with your doctor as to what the results mean for your care.
- Talk to your doctor about which hospital is best for your needs. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.
- Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery.