One week in early March every year is designated as Patient Safety Awareness Week, a national recognition to encourage everyone to learn more about health care safety.  

At hospitals and health systems across the country, delivering safe, quality care is a priority every day, in every patient encounter. Improving the safety of the health care system also means making it a safe place for our health care teams. 

Over the past two decades, much progress has been made to ensure safety in health care. But we know that more can be done. That’s why providing better care and greater value is a key pillar of AHA’s 2022–2024 Strategic Plan. 

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a call to action on patient safety. AHA supports these efforts, including to:

  • create more durable safety improvement strategies;
  • enhance “just in time” training for staff; and
  • innovate to ensure hospitals have strong and diversely skilled teams available to care for all who require care, even during a national emergency. 

The AHA already works collaboratively with the CDC, CMS and other organizations on a number of patient safety initiatives. 

For example, Project Firstline, a CDC- and AHA-led collaborative program, offers tools and resources on preventing infection and creating a culture of safety. A new resource from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and supported by the AHA and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, includes four tools to help hospital teams make better-informed decisions on how to implement effective infection control programs and reduce the rate of health care-associated infections. 

This work is part of AHA’s long-standing commitment to help health care organizations accelerate performance improvement and enhance the patient experience. We will continue to look for opportunities to work collaboratively, gain insights and build more resiliency into our patient safety efforts. 

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has made the work more challenging, hospitals and health systems are united in their efforts to ensure safety and quality for patients. 

Wright L. Lassiter III
AHA Chair
 

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