The Global Picture
Too often the attitude on patient safety is that the health care provider is solely responsible. This is not true. You, as patient, need to be proactive in your medical treatment and prevention program. This means that you should look at yourself as part of the medical team and share the responsibility. Patient safety is a large and complex challenge that requires the cooperation and expertise of the whole team.
ShawneeMission.org provides you with a wealth of information involving patient safety. Listed below are some links that address patient safety:
Another extremely valuable service is the ASK-A-NURSE Resource Center available at 913-676-7777.
Other useful information on the SMMC website includes: 1. Being able to have a copy of your medical record. 2. Having access to numerous support groups dealing with health issues. 3. Obtaining your own Physician Directory that lists all of the doctors and their specialties.
As of August 2, 2011, SMMC went live on Computer Provider Order Entry (CPOE). You now have a fully integrated electronic medical record. This is a huge step on improving patient safety by having your medical history entered electronically. Medical prescriptions are also done electronically so that the problem of trying to read handwriting is eliminated. This also speeds up the prescription process.
To obtain valid data on drugs, vitamins, and food supplements, go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginformation.html.
Another reliable source of healthcare/patient safety is http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/, a service of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Living Healthy is the Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s quarterly journal of family health.
Vibrant Life is America’s oldest health magazine.
Nutrition Action Healthletter, Center For Science In The Public Interest. This magazine is similar to Consumer Report in that it addresses specific brand products (particularly foods and food additives) without accepting advertisement from companies. Articles are well footnoted with professional journals. They also have an excellent scientific advisory board.
If you qualify for Medicare, AARP Bulletin, a monthly news bulletin provides valuable information on patient safety and other healthcare issues.
If possible, have another person who can advocate and be a support for you. This is particularly important when dealing with hospitalizations and serious illness. You should trust this person to ask questions and get clarifications from the doctor and nurses when you are unable to do so.
Before seeing your doctor or being admitted to the hospital, write down any questions you have about your medical procedure/treatment plan.
For some serious reading, you may want to consider reading Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals, by Peter Pronovost, M.D, PhD. It was published January, 2011. Dr. Pronovost is a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the director of the Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care and the Quality and Safety Research Group at John’s Hopkins University.
If you need more information and are unsure who to contact or what department to call, contact Shawnee Mission Medical Center at 913-676-2000.
John Haynes, MS, MBA, is a retired school psychologist and a current volunteer at Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC). He served as a Hospital Corpsman at the US Naval Academy and served on the USS Sanctuary Hospital ship in Vietnam. In addition to his volunteer work at SMMC, he's actively involved in the community through the Shawnee Kiwanis Club and the Kansas Trails Council. His interests vary from backpacking and mountain biking to investment analysis and business management. He and his wife have two sons.