Patient Safety
Since the Institute of Medicine published its report, To Err is Human, there has been intense focus on the issue of patient safety, medical errors, and the "broken" healthcare system.  Patients themselves can and should be major players in helping their doctors and other medical providers avoid medical mistakes by doing some simple things.  Here is a list of websites that give patients tips on questions to ask, records to keep, and ways to become an involved healthcare consumer.  For more information on how to evaluate a hospital or doctor, click hereYou might also want to check out the Smart Patient Guide.
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The Authority was created in 2002 to identify problems and recommend solutions that promote patient safety.  All Pennsylvania-licensed hospitals, outpatient surgery facilities, birthing centers, etc. are required to report "serious" incidents to The Authority.  Their website has patient tips on insulin, choking deaths, vaccines, surgery, diagnostic tests, infections, medications, and more. 
The ECRI Institute is designated as an Evidence-Based Practice Center by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  It is an independent organization that evaluates medical procedures, devices, drugs, etc. to determine which is best.  It offers a page for the general public on patient safety.
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This government agency offers patient oriented  tips on preventing errors, getting safer care, getting quality care, and using hospitals and clinics.  Information is available in multiple media including print, podcasts, and videos.  There is also information en español. 
The Joint Commission, an organization that accredits hospitals and establishes National Patient Safety Goals, has a "Speak Up" campaign for consumers.  This site has downloadable pamphlets on preventing errors, as well as specific brochures dealing with infection, pain management, medications, research studies, and organ transplantation. The Speak Up page also has videos in English and Spanish on medication safety, infections, and preventing errors. The Speak Up site now has videos in both English and Spanish on medication safety, infections, and preventing errors.
The National Library of Medicine's Patient Safety page offers links to many other organizations offering information for the consumer on patient safety.  There is also a link to information en español and multiple other languages.
The Medical Library Association offers glossaries to help patients understand medical terms and prescription shorthand.  There are specialized glossaries for breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, eye diseases, HIV-AIDS, and stroke.
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Additional Resources
This website provides free patient safety videos created by SHEA (Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America) with support by Inova Fairfax Hospital. Topics include catheter-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, clostridium difficile, MRSA, surgical site infections, vancomycin resistant enterococcus, and ventilator associated pneumonia.

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Disclaimer:  The information contained at this website is not intended to replace the care of a primary care physician, specialist, or other professional health care provider.  It is intended solely to complement  that care and is for general informational purposes only.  Any health information found on the Internet should always be discussed with your health care provider.
This page is maintained by the library staff of  Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, a member of the Health Information Library Network of Northeastern Pennsylvania (HILNNEP). 
Last updated: May 13, 2013