Patient Safety Awareness Week is March 12-18, 2017 and HCA Vice President and Chief Patient Safety Officer Dr. Kenneth Sands, says that for clinicians and the healthcare professionals at HCA, “Every day is patient safety day” and that our health system needs to be intently focused on keeping patients safe and free from harm.

“At one point or another, we are all patients, and patient safety awareness is integral to the HCA commitment to care and improvement of human life. Inside every HCA doorway, people are working to ensure that our systems approach to safety is performing optimally. In fact, some of the programs developed at HCA have helped define the science of patient safety nationally” Sands said.

He added, “One contribution that has advanced patient safety since the Institute of Medicine’s seminal report on the subject, ‘To Err is Human,’ has been the ability to make sure technology is safe and optimized to improve safety. “The transformative technology that came into use with the adoption of the electronic health record has really helped. However, technology alone will not make patients safe; we need to continually promote a culture of safety, which includes encouraging our staff to always point out opportunities to prevent errors.  Additionally, the HCA capability to support coordinate best practices across multiple institutions creates enormous opportunities to advance patient safety.”

On a national scale preventable patient harm is frequent enough that it should be viewed as a significant public health issue, Sands says. “While we’ve made progress in the last 20 years, we need to intensify our efforts on every front. That’s why HCA is an endorser and enthusiastic supporter of the National Patient Safety Foundation’s ‘Call to Action,’  a coordinated public health approach to identify sources of preventable harm related to healthcare and drive a coordinated, multipronged ongoing effort to systematically monitor, measure, and improve patient safety.”

I encourage everyone to visit the National Patient Safety Foundation’s website and patients should look here to learn more about being part of this initiative.