Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is patient safety? No one expects harm when seeking medical care, and no patient should be harmed in the process of receiving care. Patient safety is the freedom from nonintentional injury that may be caused by the healthcare team, an equipment malfunction, failure of planned action, or use of the wrong plan to achieve an aim. A safe environment helps improve the level of patient safety and quality of care.
2. Why is patient safety important? When patient safety becomes a prime objective of the healthcare profession, the reported 98,000 patients who die each year due to medical error or injury will be greatly reduced.
3. What is the purpose of the Community Medical Foundation for Patient Safety? The Foundation’s purpose is to promote and support research and evidence-based practices related to patient safety and healthcare quality by helping prevent and reduce of all forms of medical errors and endorsing the practice of patient-centered medicine.
4. What is patient-centered medicine (healthcare)? The patient’s specific health problems, needs, wishes, values, beliefs, and the supporting environment are considered in the access to and delivery of medical care. Patient-centered medicine or healthcare must place the patient and the family in the center of the system and should be practiced everywhere--at home, in nursing homes, hospitals, and in other healthcare facilities—to ensure healthcare quality and patient safety.
5. What can a patient do to prevent medical errors? The patient should be prepared by being proactive and thinking ahead. For example, to prevent infection, watch nurses wash their hands or put on sterile gloves before touching you. Write down your complete list of all medications and give it to your doctor before your medical exam to help reduce the possibility of duplicate medicine or getting overdosed. Ask questions until you get the right answer. Whenever possible, have a patient advocate with you.
6. What are some useful resources for patient safety? Checklists and safety tools are important to help individuals remember details and remind them of the necessary actions to take. The Foundation publishes The Patient Safety Checklist©, My Medical Journal©, and other safety checklists for use in the hospital, nursing home, and home.
7. What type of research does the Foundation do? The Foundation currently is conducting research in a number areas, including 1) Patient Safety Registry: a database of medical experiences and best practices, 2) medical misdiagnosis: using a state-of-the art testing device to improve accurate diagnoses of carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand disorders, 3) medication safety: unused and expired medications in our homes, and 4) ways to use the new, innovative organizational concept of Community of Competence™ to build better healthcare systems by partnering with numerous healthcare professionals to share human and material resources.
8. What is the Community of Competence™? It represents a framework and a methodology to describe, assess, and combine separate strengths and unique core competencies of individuals, groups, and organizations into a meaningful whole. Members are either selected or volunteer based on their skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience, and demonstrated competencies. These flexible, dynamic, focused communities solve problems in an effective, efficient manner. They can meet face-to-face or be virtual with today’s technology and global work schedules.
9. What is the Patient Safety Registry? It is an electronic repository to store information on medical errors, close calls, and preventive measures that may come from around the world. It has been expanded to include other patient safety related databases, such as the Unused & Expired Medicine Registry, the Registry for Hand Functionality, and the online reporting system Share Our Stories (S.O.S.)
10. Who should report a medical error or event that seems unsafe? Anyone—yourself, relative, friend, healthcare professional, or observer who either experiences a medical error, or sees that an error or mistake has occurred—should immediately report the incident. Reporting and sharing the experience may prevent the same mistake from happening again to you or another patient.
11. How can I report a medical error, incident, close call, or positive or negative experience? You have 3 options for confidential reporting: 1) on our website, use the Share Our Stories© (S.O.S.) online form, 2) download the S.O.S. Report Form and mail or fax us the completed form, or 3) call us at 832-778-7777 and chat with us by phone.
12. How can the Patient Safety Registry help you? It can help by: 1) serving as a powerful resource to identify best practices to improve the treatment and care of patients, 2) showing causes of medical errors that harm patients and help detect potential problems within the healthcare system before they occur, 3) helping train healthcare professionals, patients, and families how to recognize potential medical errors or possible hazards before they occur, and 4) possibly detecting new and emerging systemic problems related to new therapies, medications, and healthcare environments, yet to be identified.
13. How can I get involved with patient safety? You may get involved by: 1) becoming a member and a benefactor to learn about patient safety, 2) volunteering with us to help with operations and activities within and outside our office, 3) joining our Community of Competence™ and getting involved with research projects, educational programs, or advocacy, and 4) for students, applying for internship or work-study programs.
14. What can I do to improve patient safety? You have already taken the first step—ask questions. Take the time to ask your physician important questions. Examples: Why are you prescribing me this medicine? Are there any side effects with this medicine? Are there alternatives to taking this medicine? Is there an alternative type of treatment? Additionally, you can support our mission, our community, and research and educational programs by making a donation and sharing this information with your family and friends.