Monday, August 26, 2013

Your Patients and Their Safety: How Your Practice Can Help

patient safety
Little by little, your patients have become increasingly concerned about patient safety. Not long ago, most of the general public simply assumed that medical errors were rare. But more recently they’ve become aware of alarming statistics first published by the Institute of Medicine - that somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 people die every year due to medical errors.
Other studies report that over 20% of all Americans report firsthand experience with medical errors, either personally or within their immediate families. Most physicians were already concerned about safety before it became a media sensation - just like most doctors made conscientious effort to protect patients’ privacy long before HIPAA regulations intruded on medical practices. But the public’s heightened sensitivity actually provides another public relations opportunity for the savvy physician.

Here are several ideas you can employ to leave the public with a positive impression about you and your practice as champions and guardians of patient safety:
  • Prepare and deliver a presentation for civic groups, seniors organizations, and hospital educational programs with the theme: “How Patients and Their Families Can Help Avoid Medical Errors.”
  • Prepare feature articles on the same topic for local and regional newspapers and magazines.
  • Contact radio and TV stations in your area to volunteer as a guest expert addressing patient safety issues.
  • Make “patient safety” the theme of your next print or broadcast ad campaign.
  • Prepare and distribute a “Patient Safety Policies” brochure to your patients and referrers. Include an online version on your Web site. Include a policy of “transparency' assuring patients that your practice will go above and beyond to ensure safety, and that you refuse to be involved in a cover-up if an error occurs. 
Never forget that effective marketing revolves around developing “brand recognition.” You want folks to see your name and conclude yours is the best place to go for compassionate, quality care in an environment of trust and safety.

A nice book that we are recommending is by Mary Sue McAslan, Pharm.D. based in Denver, Read the Prescription Label. Dr. McAslan also has a terrific system for patients to keep track of their medications/doctors.

If you enjoy reading the blog entries in "Solving Problems in the Medical Practice" you may want to check out all the great products at Greenbranch Publishing.

photo credit: Arlington County via photopin cc

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