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Patients have three roles in improving patient safety: helping to ensure their own safety, working with health care organizations to improve safety at the organization and unit level, and advocating as citizens for public reporting and accountability of hospital and health system performance. The following case illustrates how patients can help ensure their own safety.
Allan Frankel, MD, is Director of Patient Safety for Partners HealthCare, the merged entity of Harvard hospitals and clinics that includes Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Frankel, an anesthesiologist by training, has been a key member of the faculty of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, co-chairing numerous Adverse Drug Events and Patient Safety Collaboratives. Dr. Frankel's work in patient safety focuses on leadership training, high reliability in health care, teamwork development, and cultural change. We asked Dr.
Michael Cohen, RPh, MS, ScD, is president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) and co-editor of ISMP Medication Safety Alert!, a biweekly newsletter. A pharmacist by training, his ground-breaking work and commitment to patient safety and preventing medication errors has spanned three decades. He received one of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowships (informally known as the "genius awards") in 2005.