New Tools for Patient-Based Safety Interventions in Primary Care

PUBLISHED: Mar 16, 2017

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a new guide to assist primary care providers engage patients in their care. According to AHRQ, research demonstrates that when patients are engaged in their health care there are measurable improvements in safety and quality.

AHRQ’s Guide to Improving Patient Safety in Primary Care Settings by Engaging Patients and Families is a compilation of evidenced-based best practices for improving patient safety through patient, family and caregiver engagement. The guide contains four specific strategies primary care providers can adopt to improve patient safety:

  • Teach-Back: Teach-back is a technique for health care providers to ensure that they have explained medical information clearly so that patients and their families understand what is communicated to them.
  • Be Prepared To Be Engaged: This toolkit will help patients and their families prepare for and become more fully engaged in their medical appointments—to be ready for the appointment, to speak up, to ask questions, to take notes. Tools are also available for clinicians and practice staff to encourage and reinforce patient preparation and engagement.
  • Medication Management: Medication management is a strategy for engaging with patients and caregivers to create a complete and accurate medication list using the brown bag method. A complete and accurate medication list is the foundation for addressing medication reconciliation and medication management issues. These tools will also help to identify risks for an adverse drug event, such as overdosing, underdosing, or missing medications, or other important contextual factors limiting adherence.
  • Warm Handoff: A warm handoff is a transfer of care from one clinician to another, where the handoff occurs in front of the patient and family. This transparent handoff of care allows patients and families to hear what is said between clinicians and engages patients and families in communication, giving them the opportunity to clarify or correct information they provided or ask questions about their care.

For each of the above strategies, AHRQ has provided tools and materials to support implementation, follow the link below to access these resources. Included with today's notice are example policies related to the outpatient medication reconciliation process.

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