Texas A&M System Health Science Center Sets Activities for Patient Safety Awareness Week

March 5, 2003

The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center will mark National Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 9 through 15) with activities designed to education the public about becoming more effective partners in their own healthcare.
Josie Williams, director of the Health Science Center’s Quality, Patient Safety Initiatives program, stressed several messages for Patient Safety Awareness Week: encouraging patients to become more informed healthcare consumers and to communicate with their health professionals, asking questions and raising points of potential misunderstanding or disagreement; urging family members to become involved with their loved ones’ healthcare needs, if necessary serving as advocates with medical professionals; and urging patients to become educated about the medications they have been prescribed before they take any drug.
Activities scheduled include an exhibit at Post Oak Mall on Sunday, March 9, from 1 to 5 p.m. Patient safety materials printed in both English and Spanish will be distributed, and health professionals will be on hand to discuss pharmacy safety and service, patients’ roles in making healthcare safer, and roles of patient advocates. On Monday, March 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the same exhibit will travel to the Texas A&M University Memorial Student Center.
Dr. Williams will also discuss patient safety issues live at noon on KBTX-TV on March 11. On March 12, the patient safety exhibit will travel to the main entrance of St. Joseph’s Hospital, where it will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“In this upcoming Patient Safety Awareness Week, we are really stressing partnership and communication,” said Williams, who is also an assistant professor in the A&M System Health Science Center College of Medicine’s department of family and community medicine. “Patients in the past have seen physicians as authority figures, really, but as things get more complex, as technologies play more of an important role in what physicians do and don’t do, it is critically important for patients to become partners in their health care. That’s a new concept, not only for patients but also for physicians. But it’s a very important concept because healthcare is much more complex than it used to be.”
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its five components located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.

— Marketing & Communications