Explore This IssueOctober 2011
Matthew A. Kienstra, MD, section head of ENT and oral surgery and director of the Facial Trauma Services at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center and Clinics in Springfield, Mo., focused attention on an issue raised in a study (Medical Care Res Rev. 2010;67:119-148) that looked at what he thinks will be a growing trend: the involvement of patients in their own safety. An example of this, he said, is “Speak Up,” a program sponsored by the Joint Commission that has focused on hand washing to decrease infections. Other examples are exercise and safe sex programs and breast self-exams.
Dr. Kienstra noted several risks that come with basing quality improvement on involving patients in their own care, including the patients’ perception that they bear the burden of their illness, a misconception that may lead to an erosion of trust between physician and patient and potential punitive consequences in terms of reimbursement for perceived insufficient involvement.
Overall, he said that engaging patients in their own safety has not been shown to be effective and has been poorly studied. The key for patient involvement is staff involvement, he added. The idea of including patients in their own safety is not perfect, he said, “but can be successful over time and needs to be done down the road.” ENT Today