Advice on Patient Safety May Be Ineffective

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<p>The advice contained in patient safety brochures distributed to the public may not always be effective or appropriate, a new Commonwealth Fund-supported study finds.<br><br>In <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=18633&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D297152%26%23doc297152">Advising Patients About Patient Safety: Current Initiatives Risk Shifting Responsibility</a> (<em>Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety,</em> Sept. 2005), researcher Vikki A. Entwistle, M.Sc., Ph.D., and colleagues examined patient safety resources developed by such organizations as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and the National Patient Safety Foundation, and then conducted 40 interviews about the materials with patient safety and quality professionals.<br><Br> The study determined that the advisories were written from the health care provider's perspective and missed opportunities to increase public understanding. None of the advisories, for example, explain the relationship between medical errors and poor health outcomes, review current safety standards, or discuss current patient safety initiatives. Additionally, by recommending that patients challenge providers' actions they find questionable, the advisories seem to shift responsibility for safety onto the patient.<br><br>Additional research and debate about the proper role of patients in safety efforts is needed, the authors say. Also suggested is periodic examination of the advice given to patients as well as the development of systems "designed to enable people to contribute appropriately by default."</p>