New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Patient Safety Awareness Week March 12-18

Department Aims to Increase Awareness About Patient Safety Among Health Care Professionals, Patients, and Families to Improve Health Care and Health Outcomes

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 16, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health is recognizing National Patient Safety Awareness Week, which takes place March 12-18, and encouraging all New Yorkers to continue to take proven steps to promote and enhance the quality of patient care, safety, and health in the state.

All health professionals, including doctors, nurses, physician assistants, EMS providers, and pharmacists, as well as public health administrators, business leaders, and patients, have a role and responsibility to provide and promote safe, quality health care by identifying causes and contributing factors of medical errors, improving detection and reporting of errors, and preventing errors.

"Patient Safety Awareness Week is a great opportunity to highlight the critical importance of teamwork and open dialog to improve both New York's health care delivery system and patient health outcomes," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Working together to create and implement innovative and effective solutions will help us reduce patient harm and ensure access to safe, quality care."

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement cites studies that claim as many as 400,000 deaths in the United States each year are the result of errors or preventable harm. Even in cases that do not result in death, harm can cause long-term impacts on physical, emotional, and financial well-being.

The Department has several initiatives aimed at improving health literacy, care, and outcomes:

  • Percutaneous Cardiac Intervention (PCI) Reports. The Department uses cardiovascular disease data and statistics to monitor hospital and procedural performance, to focus on improving outcomes for cardiac procedures, such as cardiac surgery and angioplasty (PCI), in New York.
  • Office-Based Surgery Program. The Department promotes patient safety and quality care in the office-based surgery setting by requiring practices to become accredited and report adverse events that occur in office-based surgery practices.
  • NYS Sepsis Care Improvement Initiative. Severe sepsis and septic shock impact approximately 65,000 adults and almost 600 children in New York each year. The Department works with hospitals around the state to reduce death from sepsis and between 2015 and 2019, this initiative saved more than 16,000 lives.
  • Proper Antibiotic Use. Using antibiotics against infections caused by viruses, including the flu, bronchitis, most coughs, most sore throats, and the common cold, is not appropriate. Misuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which occurs when medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria don't work anymore because of the overuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics.

The Department provides an array of resources and is advancing innovative technology-based solutions to help New Yorkers effectively navigate the health care system and access quality care, including the NYS Health Profiles website. The site provides quality and safety information about health providers in New York including hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, hospices, and adult care facilities. Information about patient safety can also be found on the Health Care Professionals & Patient Safety website.

New Yorkers who have complaints about physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants should file a confidential complaint with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), which reviews all complaints of professional medical misconduct. OPMC maintains a website for the public to view physician profiles that include education, practice information, practice specialty, legal actions, and professional activities.

Complaints about patient care at hospitals can be filed using the Health Facility Complaint Form or by calling 1-800-804-5447. All hospital complaints are kept confidential and at the conclusion of an investigation, the outcome is shared with the complainant.