Celebrating Patient Safety Awareness Week
A question that often comes up is what is the most important part of hospital construction? Is it keeping the project on schedule? Is it making sure the materials and tools are within budget? Is it doing a good work and meeting client expectations? Is it garnering customer satisfaction and feedback?
While all of these aspects are valuable to running a successful business and being an industry leader, the most important factor of hospital construction— and all other hospital work— is patient safety. This week, from March 11-17th, is National Patient Safety Awareness week and we want to draw attention to this critical campaign to raise awareness of patient safety for all who work in the healthcare industry.
What is Patient Safety Week?
Patient Safety Awareness Week is one week each year dedicated to raising awareness in the healthcare for the safety of patients worldwide. Healthcare safety affects almost everyone at some point, whether you work in or around hospitals or you are a patient in one yourself.
Studies suggest that between 210,000 and 400,000 hospital deaths in the United States are caused through direct medical error or other preventable causes missed through medical error. Patient Safety Awareness Week is meant to draw attention to this staggering number, and help everyone involved in the healthcare industry keep patient safety as the number one priority in their minds.
Through a joint collaboration of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the National Patient Safety Foundation, Patient Safety Awareness Week is celebrated by both healthcare professionals and healthcare industry leaders as a way to educate others and learn more themselves about patient safety.
Why Patient Safety Matters
The obvious number one reason that patient safety matters is to lower the amount of preventable patient death in the United States. Currently there are roughly 1,000 deaths a day that would have been preventable if someone had approached their work with a little more caution.
In addition to the deaths through medical error, 21% of Americans claim to have experienced a medical error while in a healthcare facility. After experiencing a medical error, people are less likely to return to the same hospital, and are more likely to be distrustful of healthcare professionals and the healthcare industry in general.
Beyond the obvious victims of hospital error, healthcare professionals themself can suffer. If a patient dies from a medical error, the physician or healthcare profession responsible can have intense guilt and other long-term repercussions. Having a patient die or get hurt due to your error can lead to poor physical and mental health, difficulty with finances, and relationships with family, friends, and children.
Keeping Patient Safety at the Forefront
Reading literature written by healthcare organizations that is put out this week to show all the research and resources for patient safety is a great way to become involved in Patient Safety Awareness Week. All days of the year are important to consider patient safety, but this week in particular is a good time to reflect on how your attitude towards patient safety is throughout the year.
Whether a healthcare professional or someone else involved with healthcare facilities— such as a hospital construction manager or team member— it’s important to remember that patient safety should always come first. Focus this year on having this as the first thing in mind, even after Patient Safety Awareness Week has passed.
How HEPACART Works to Ensure Safety
One way that patients get sick or die from preventable error is through hospital-acquired infections, or HAIs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.7 million hospital infections lead to 99,000 deaths each year. Hospital construction can cause HAIs by releasing dust with fungus and bacteria into the air, or letting viruses and other infectious particles get outside of contained areas.
Our role in hospital and healthcare construction is the same as others in the healthcare industry— to remember patient safety comes first. Whether we get there with better tools, or through more general awareness around constructions sites and hospital projects, this week allows us to look critically at the work we do and how we can continuously work to improve patient safety.