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AHRQ leads HHS campaign with hospitals and physicians to distribute information about safer health care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association, has launched a campaign to distribute patient safety information to health care providers and patients across the country. HHS is working with the AHA and the AMA to promote the new posters, 5 Steps to Safer Health Care. The posters offer evidence-based, practical tips on the role that patients can play to help improve the safety of the care they receive.

Led by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS is working to reduce the risks that patients may face in the course of receiving health care services. The AHA and AMA have patient safety initiatives underway as well.

The new posters provide tips that could help patients avoid errors related to prescription medicines, laboratory tests and procedures, and surgery. The tips were developed through a joint effort of AHRQ, HHS' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Labor. In particular, these materials, which are available in English and Spanish, emphasize that good communication between health care providers and patients often can reduce a potential source of problems in today's increasingly complex health care system. The tips are also included in the Medicare & You handbook, which is mailed to about 39 million Medicare households each year.

The AHA and AMA are encouraging hospital leaders and physicians to hang the posters in their waiting rooms and exam rooms to help encourage dialogue between patients and providers about health care safety. The groups also are distributing the posters through mailings and meetings.

Select for copies of 5 Steps to Safer Health Care in English and Spanish.

Print copies of the 17" x 22" posters (AHRQ Publication No. 03-M007 English; 03-M008 Spanish) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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