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Chatting About Patient Engagement…And More

On Mar 09, 2012

This week, the National Patient Safety Foundation (also known as “@theNPSF”) held a Twitter chat in recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week. Although our focus was patient engagement, the conversation took a few turns. In case you missed it, we’ve summarized some of the key points for you here.

Review an edited transcript (in reverse chronological order) [PDF format].


We shared a link to NPSF’s new video, which demonstrates the Ask Me 3 program in action, then asked, “What other questions can patients ask? Or what more can they do?” Among the suggestions:

  • Be sure to ask questions of all health providers, including pharmacists, infection control personnel, and others, not just your primary care providers.
  • Be sure questions are asked and answered, so they are fully understood.
  • Write questions down so you don’t forget them during the visit.
  • Take notes
  • Bring a “second set of ears”—a family member or friend who can help you remember everything.

One participant said, given how busy clinicians are, she is sometimes reluctant to ask too many question. That led to a discussion of time constraints in the modern health landscape. According to one participant, Jerome Groopman, MD, has estimated that doctors interrupt patients within the first 18 seconds of a visit.

We asked people to share some of their favorite videos or tools for patients. Not surprisingly, the AHRQ’s patient resource, Questions Are the Answer, was widely tweeted. Participants also shared information about medication safety and the safe disposal of prescription medication.

Health Literacy

We asked if low health literacy may be a reason for a lack of engagement by some patients. One participant shared a source that says 53 percent of adults have only intermediate levels of health literacy. Participants shared links to health literacy resources:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation resources: http://t.co/OXZAHyTA

NPSF, Words to Watch: http://www.npsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/AskMe3_WordsToWatch_English.pdf

Also recommended by one participant: follow @Hlth_Literacy on twitter.

Raising Awareness

Of course, one of the major goals of Patient Safety Awareness Week is to raise awareness of the issue. Someone we follow, @SusanCarr, asked what people are reading this week, and that yielded links to great articles sparked by PSAW:

Informing the Journey, Not Changing the Destination by Jim Conway on the Health Care For All blog, http://t.co/P97dB0WS

@ClaudiaNichols writing for Pilot Health Advocates,  http://t.co/YDzSnzJV

 @TrishaTorrey writing on why the word “celebrate” is the wrong word for Patient Safety Awareness Week, http://t.co/ZcPSAJIR

Trisha Torrey rightly points out that “celebrating” is not really what the week is about. “Recognizing” or “commemorating” Patient Safety Awareness Week are probably better ways to think about it.

With that in mind, we want to make sure that everyone saves the date for next year: Patient Safety Awareness Week will be March 3-9, 2013.



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