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What’s the key to accelerating progress in patient safety over the next five years?

Holly Gde Young
Holly Gartmayer-DeYoung

Holly Gartmayer-Deyoung, B.S.N., M.B.A., is the Chief Executive Officer at Eastport Health Care, Inc. in Eastport, Maine.

Patients are becoming savvy consumers and will be key to accelerating patient safety improvement over the next few years. We need to continue to engage with patients and families, helping them learn and encouraging them to ask questions. We need to listen deeply and understand that people learn in different ways. Techniques such as motivational interviews can help care team members discern if patients fully understand their treatments and care plans, which is key to ensuring their safety. We need to make information available in different formats, such as graphics and podcasts, and provide resources in the patient’s own language when needed.

Our heath care system must become more connected and transparent.

To make progress on safety over the next few years, our heath care system must become more connected and transparent. Patients will do their part, especially if we help them, but pharmacies, hospitals, primary care and specialty providers all need to do a better job coordinating care and providing a safety net of checks and balances for patients. We recently had a patient receive a duplicate prescription – one from the specialty provider and one from primary care. Providers need to communicate and make sure things like that don’t happen. We must dedicate ourselves to supporting patients to participate in their care, talking among ourselves to avoid errors, addressing safety issues immediately and creating a culture of safety for all.

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