Patient Safety Awareness Week. March 12th through Saturday March 18th.

Tuesday March 07 2017

The annual Patient Safety Awareness Week occurred in the US Sunday, March 12th through Saturday March 18th.

Run by the National Patient Safety Foundation, the event is designed to raise awareness of the different ways that healthcare safety can be improved across America, with 2017 marking the event's 20th anniversary.

Patient Safety Awareness Week forms part of the United for Patient Safety Campaign, which is working to implement measures to improve health and safety conditions for patients being treated across the US. 

Statistics show that around 440,000 people die throughout the country every year due to medical errors that could have been prevented. For example, this could be due to them being given the wrong test results, leading to an unnecessary course of treatment that damages their health beyond repair, or it could be down to a needlestick injury exposing their bloodstream to viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV.

Yet simple measures, such as using specialist needle safety devices, or making sure doctors are not overworked and consequently more likely to make mistakes, could help to reduce the avoidable deaths figure.

Patient Safety Awareness Week aims to improve awareness of all of these and hosted two live hour-long Twitter chats. The first was titled 'Patient Safety: What Patients Want (and Need) to Know', while the second encouraged social media users to use the hashtag #WeAreAllPatients, as awareness is raised for everything from sharps injuries to test result mix-ups.

Tejal K Gandhi, president and chief executive officer of the National Patient Safety Foundation, commented: "This is a time for all of us to share what we know, learn from others and celebrate the real victories, large and small, that we've seen in patient safety over the past 20 years."

Image credit: XiXinXing via iStock