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FORT LEE, Va. -- Patient safety is of the upmost importance to the well-being of all beneficiaries and staff at Kenner Army Health Clinic as they recognize the annual event Patient Safety Awareness week.

The clinic will observe this event March 10-16 with displays and giveaways in Pharmacy Lobby and main entrance to inspire action to improve the safety of healthcare delivery.

Deneen Archer from Patient Safety and Infection Control at Kenner explained that the origin of Patient Safety Awareness week is from the non-profit organization National Patient Safety Foundations, which has now combined with Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

During the week, both IHI and NPSF advance important discussions locally and globally with the intent to inspire action to improve the safety of the healthcare system for patients and the workforce. Preventing harm in healthcare settings is a public health concern.

One of the ways Archer said they maintain safety practices at Kenner is by following the Joint Commission National Patient Safety goals. This, for example, means the usage of medications safely, to identify patients correctly, prevent infections, and prevent mistakes during surgery or procedures.

“We encourage patient engagement in their healthcare by promoting ‘Ask 3,’ which are three questions patients are suggested to ask during their encounter with their provider,” said Archer. “We also encourage patients to maintain a list of their current medications.”

1. What is my main problem?

2. What do I need to do?

3. Why is it important for me to do this?

According to IHI, there have been advances made in patient safety over the past two decades, current estimates place patient harm as the leading cause of death worldwide. Some studies suggest that medical errors may cause as many as 400,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, and not all errors result in death.

In a recent survey of a representative sample of Americans, 41 percent said they had experienced a medical error in their own care or in the care of a close relative or friend. The harms resulting from these errors can have a long-term impact on the patient’s physical health, emotional health, financial well-being, or their family relationships.

Errors and safety lapses can occur in any setting and take many forms: there are errors in an outpatient setting, medication errors, diagnostic error, which can occur in both outpatient and inpatient settings. It will take all of us involved in our healthcare to prevent errors.

Archer mentioned this week is not just a Kenner focus but a national focus for total system and patient safety in healthcare. In addition, to ensure that the care they are receiving is safe. She encourages everyone to stop by the tables to get educational information and giveaways to focus on patient safety.

Any concerns about ones’ safety, contact Deneen Archer at deneen.h.archer.civ@mail.mil or contact Kenner’s Patient Advocate at 804-734-9512.