The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) is an organization pursuing the mission of improving the safety and care provided to health care patients. This not-for-profit group works to define and develop groundbreaking programs designed to further their patient safety mission. The NPSF defines patient safety as, “The prevention of health care errors, and the elimination or mitigation of patient injury caused by health care errors.”
To that end, each year the NPSF celebrates Patient Safety Awareness Week, this year the observation falls March 4-10. This year’s theme is Be Aware for Safe Care and highlights the need for everyone — patients, families, health care providers, and the public — to understand the importance of patient safety, as well as recognize the range of efforts made to improve health safety in the United States and worldwide.
The NPSF has observed Patient Safety Awareness Week since 2002 and, while efforts of the past decade have brought improvements, recent studies indicate that much work remains to be done through the involvement of all parties. This year’s campaign also aligns with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Partnership for Patients, a groundbreaking initiative launched in early 2011 to improve care and reduce costs, in part by reducing all causes of harm in health care.
Now more than ever, the NPSF recognizes that there is a focus in health care on empowering patients and strengthening patient-provider communications in order to reduce health care errors. So how can the average person ensure they are getting the best possible care and treatment? One avenue you may consider is working with a patient navigator to help you through the medical maze and develop your personal roadmap to recovery.
Patient navigators work as both your advocate and go-between, helping you and your family members through the overwhelming task of sorting through specialists’ recommendations, treatment options, administrative and insurance issues, as well as assisting with the coordination your medical care.
No matter how you choose to steer through your health care options, it is important that you are as informed as possible to make the best possible decisions.