This past week, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center participated in Patient Safety Awareness Week, an event founded by the National Patient Safety Foundation and celebrated by health care organizations worldwide.

This annual education and awareness campaign for health care safety highlights the continued need to make both patients and health care professionals aware of the importance of reducing errors in health care.

Each year, organizations participate by prominently displaying the foundation’s campaign logo and promotional materials within their organizations, creating awareness within the community while educating hospital staff and patients.

Lisa Kelly, Darnall’s patient safety manager, said this year’s theme is “Navigate Your Health ... Safely.”

“This is a week to recognize the advancements that have been made in the patient safety arena, while acknowledging the challenges that remain and committing to work on them every day,” Kelly said.

One of the big focuses this year is on preventing errors in diagnosis, which, Kelly said, requires patients to be active participants in their health care.

“This is a collaborative effort that includes encouraging patients to be assertive and ask questions as well as trust their instincts when it comes to their health. Providers also are encouraged to make patients a partner in the diagnosis process,” she said.

Col. Roger Gallup, Darnall’s deputy commander for clinical services, said efforts to promote this type of working relationship between providers and patients at Darnall is endorsed by the National Patient Safety Foundation.

“Patients need to be informed and engaged in their care. The National Patient Safety Foundation has an education program that is called ‘Ask Me 3.’ It encourages a dialogue between the patient and the provider,” Gallup said. “The three questions are: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? And why is it important for me to do this? These questions help patients be engaged in their care and take better care of themselves. It also helps improve the outcomes of chronic medical conditions.”

Kelly said Darnall has seen success by implementing the foundation’s techniques.

“There is still work to be done, but we’ve come a long way, and we’ve come out better because of all the support we receive from all of our staff to ensure that (Darnall) is providing a safe environment for our beneficiaries.”

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