Monday, March 7, 2011



BOSTON, MA (March 7, 2011) – The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) is celebrating Patient Safety Awareness Week on March 6-12; this annual event is designed to highlight improved patient-provider communication as a vital part of keeping patients safe. This year, NPSF is also focusing on efforts to reduce medication errors and lower hospital readmission rates. As the nation’s leading voice for patient safety, NPSF’s goal for the campaign is to encourage improved patient care through better communication among providers, patients, families, and communities.

“Patient Safety Awareness Week underscores the needs addressed by national discussions on patient safety and emphasizes the value of collective effort and working together for making and keeping our health care system safe,” says Diane C. Pinakiewicz, president of NPSF.

According to a New England Journal of Medicine study analyzing close to 12 million fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries, nearly 20 percent of those discharged from a hospital were re-admitted within 30 days; 34 percent were re-hospitalized within 90 days, and 54 percent, within a year. Medication errors played a large, preventable role in these readmissions.

In support of Patient Safety Awareness Week this year, NPSF has made available a variety of online resources expressly designed to help patients understand what they can do and what they need to know to stay safe. Patients and families interested in learning more should visit

In addition, the Ask Me3TM program is again an integral component of Patient Safety Awareness Week. This health literacy initiative is designed to assist with communication between patients and providers by way of three basic questions – “What is my main problem?” “What do I need to do?” and “Why is it important for me to do this?”

Patient Safety Awareness Week, which NPSF has been leading since 2002, is intended to raise public awareness about the work being done to improve patient safety and the importance of effective partnering in these improvement efforts. It is also an effort to directly involve patients and health care consumers in the process of ensuring that health care errors do not occur.

Health care organizations nationwide and around the world are displaying and distributing Patient Safety Awareness Week materials and resources, including posters, brochures, stickers, and lapel buttons to demonstrate their support and commitment.

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