Chair File: Patient Safety Week is Every Day for Hospitals and Health Systems

At hospitals and health systems across the country, patient safety is a priority every single day. Each year as AHA marks Patient Safety Awareness Week, we recognize the work of health care teams and promote discussions about patient safety. It’s a time when we also mark the progress we’ve made as a field, which is more important than ever as we look toward recovery from the pandemic.

Even though the past year has stressed the health care system like never before, our health care teams have consistently stepped up in so many different ways to provide safe, high-quality care to patients diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as patients receiving many other kinds of care and treatment. 

There aren’t any days off in our work to keep patients safe. Around the clock, health care professionals at all levels of each organization — environmental services, pharmacy departments, clinical teams and C-suite leaders — are focused on saving lives and improving patient care. 

We’ve come a long way, but when it comes to patient safety, there is always more work to do. The AHA offers a wide variety of resources for the field focused on patient safety and quality. Some leading projects include: 

  • AHA Team Training primarily focuses on Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS). It’s an evidence-based set of tools for health professionals to use to improve communication and teamwork — key elements in optimizing patient safety and outcomes.
  • AHA is a partner in Project Firstline, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention training collaborative offering timely infection control training to front-line health care workers and the public health workforce. 
  • The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, of which AHA is a partner, concentrates on the unique care needs of older adults. This work is guided by a set of evidence-based practices to ensure older adult patients receive safe, quality and person-centered care. 

You can find links to more patient safety initiatives and resources by visiting AHA’s webpage

This week is a great time to connect with your community to share what your organization is doing to ensure the safety of every person you serve. 

Whether a patient needs emergency care or COVID-19 care, diagnostic or preventive care, or home-based care, hospitals and health systems are always there, and safety always comes first. 

Rod Hochman, M.D.
AHA Chair