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How Patient Engagement Helps Improve Patient Safety

How Patient Engagement Helps Improve Patient Safety EHR

Ensuring patient safety is at the core of what it means to deliver a quality healthcare experience.

However, many healthcare facilities and hospitals are realizing that meeting clinical imperatives and delivering error-free care is not the only basis by which to determine patient safety. Patient safety also hinges on a facility’s ability to drive successful risk management initiatives and reduce the number of adverse events.

According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, adverse patient safety events can include:

  • Hospital-associated infections (HAIs)
  • Diagnostic errors
  • Falls
  • Preventable hospital readmission
  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Medication errors
  • Never events

Aside from a moral obligation to fulfill these tenets of care, providers must also reduce the number of adverse patient safety events or risk a hit to Medicare reimbursement rates. In fact, patient safety performance accounts for 25 percent of an organization’s score within the 2018 Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program scoring system. Similarly, another 25 percent hinges on receiving high marks for quality patient experiences.

Healthcare Risk Management Week

With so much at stake financially, more hospitals are looking to incorporate patient engagement initiatives to help supplement patient safety initiatives within their facility. Healthcare Risk Management Week, June 17th–21st is an annual campaign designed to raise awareness about the importance of risk management and the role healthcare professionals play in eliminating preventable safety events. It’s a timely reminder for all providers to prioritize, or perhaps reprioritize, smart patient engagement strategies.

Before, during, and after each healthcare encounter, providers should empower patients through further engagement by prompting them to ask the following questions, as recommended by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Patient Safety Network.

Top 10 Questions Patients Should Ask:

  1. Why do I need this treatment?
  2. What is this test for?
  3. When will I get the results?
  4. How many times have you done this procedure?
  5. What are the possible complications?
  6. Are there any alternatives?
  7. Which hospital is best for my needs?
  8. How do you spell the name of that drug?
  9. Are there any side effects?
  10. Will this medicine interact with medications I’m already taking?

Developing short- and long-term strategies to cultivate a culture that prizes meaningful patient-provider communication is no simple task, and it’s important to remember that not all engagement strategies will prove successful across various facilities. Still, the ability to empower patients with education and encourage more patient-provider interaction is critical.

Implementing customer-centric tools that foster communication is a proactive way to boost engagement and help manage risks within your healthcare facility. A customer-centric approach can also produce safety and care benefits that follow patients out the door. For instance, mobile patient portal applications that open lines of communication between patients and providers may lead to more opportunities for physicians to offer continuing personal care education, feedback, and guidance.

Curious how technology can enable more seamless and efficient engagement between patients and providers?  Email us at or call 1.800.383.6278.

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