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iCELS Observes Patient Safety Awareness Week

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WORCESTER, Massachusetts, Mar 14, 2021 - iCELS is a proud supporter of the Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 14th-21st, 2021), an annual event when healthcare organizations nationwide take a moment to recognize and celebrate our efforts in keeping patients safe while providing top-quality care.

Each year, the Joint Commission – United States’ oldest and largest standards-setting body which accredits and certifies over 22,000 health care programs and organizations in the nation – gather information about emerging patient safety issues from healthcare professionals, consumers, government agencies and other experts. The National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) were born out of this initiative in 2002, and updated every year to help accredited organizations address specific areas of concern in regard to patient safety.

Coinciding with the one year mark since work-from-home status was declared at UMass Medical School campus on Mar 13th, 2020, this year’s Patient Safety Awareness Week falls at a timely juncture as we look back at iCELS’s role in upholding patient safety amidst prolonged coronavirus situation. As early as April 2020, the iCELS Simulations Team provided preparedness training at DCU Center Coronavirus Field Hospital – including airway management procedures – as the temporary medical site was being set up to receive a surge in patient load. At the same time, the iCELS Standardized Patients community immediately switched to training medical learners for virtual and telehealth sessions, benefiting the medical community with 10,000 simulated encounters within 6 months. This was only the tip of the iceberg amidst a host of initiatives towards greater patient safety at UMass Medical School - where leaders, front-line, clinical and non-clinical staff alike examined every aspect of their work areas to improve patient experience, quality care and patient safety.

Two decades ago, the Institute of Medicine published a report that challenged the healthcare industry: “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System.” This landmark piece reported that more than 44,000 people die each year due to preventable medical errors. While there has been some disagreement about the true numbers of patients harmed, the collective response from the healthcare community is to work towards zero harm, with the belief that one preventable death is too many. What else does our industry need to pay attention to, towards the goal of zero harm today?

At Patient Safety Awareness Week 2021, the Joint Commission outlines these steps:

  • Identify patients correctly, for instance using two identifiers to ensure patients get the right tests and treatment;
  • Improve staff communication for issues such as critical results of tests and diagnostic procedures;
  • Use medicines safely by improving labelling, paying particular attention to blood thinning medications and maintaining and communicating accurate patient medication information;
  • Use alarms safely through listening and responding to them efficiently;
  • Prevent infection including compliance with hand-cleaning guidelines;
  • Identify patient safety risks with particular attention to suicide prevention;
  • Prevent mistakes in surgery through utilizing universal protocols for correct patient, correct site, correct surgery

As a space where simulations are carried out and errors debriefed to support learning, iCELS seeks to advance discussions and improve performance on these goals. It also seeks to inspire actions that translate these goals into better outcomes with patients and the healthcare workforce. We invite you to join us as champions for patient safety to improving health in the communities we serve.

Follow the Patient Awareness Week with this hashtag #PSAW21

For further information please contact iCELS at iCELS@umassmed.edu or Phone: 508-856-5434

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Last updated Mar 17th, 2021

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