To improve safety, ask your patients

Make patients part of team

To determine how to create a safer environment at your health care facility, ask patients about safety during the patient satisfaction survey, suggests Patricia Staten, RN, MSA, associate director, The Standards Interpretation Group at the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations based in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.

A simple question on the survey form such as, "Did anything happen during your hospitalization that you did not expect?" might uncover an unanticipated outcome or medical error that could lead to safety improvements.

Also, it’s important to incorporate the patient as an integral member of the health care team to enhance the safety of health care delivery, says Staten. Many health care facilities give patients a description of their medications so that they can help to reduce medication errors. A medication profile would have a description of the medicine, such as the size of the pill and its color.

Patient safety can be greatly increased by noting what patients are worried about and targeting those issues for process improvements, says Staten.


For more information on compliance with Joint Commission standards, contact:

  • Patricia Staten, RN, MSA, Associate Director, The Standards Interpretation Group, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, One Renaissance Blvd., Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60180. Telephone: (630) 792-5964. E-mail: