• Commentary
  • Published September 2005

Advising patients about patient safety: current initiatives risk shifting responsibility.

Several of the major safety-related organizations (including Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) have developed brochures telling patients what they can do to avoid errors in their care. The authors of this study reviewed the five primary patient safety brochures and interviewed their developers (and other key stakeholders). Although the brochures have value, they found that recommendations were generally unsupported by evidence, that there was little practical support given to patients regarding how to carry out the recommended actions, and that some of the shifting of responsibility for safety from providers and/or institutions to patients was "inappropriate." They recommend additional research in this area and more attention to "practical facilitation of patient involvement."

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