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National campaign urges patients to join safety effort

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Two of the leading advocates of healthcare quality and safety in the US have launched a national campaign to urge patients to take a role in preventing healthcare errors. Dubbed “Speak Up”, the ground breaking program sponsored by JCAHO encourages patients to become active, involved, and informed participants on the healthcare team. The simple steps are based on research which shows that patients who take part in decisions about their health care are more likely to have better outcomes. Such efforts to increase consumer awareness and involvement are supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

As a Joint Commission accredited health care organization, the JCAHO hopes patients will take an active role in supporting this critical campaign. Recognizing that physicians, healthcare executives, nurses, and other healthcare workers are already working hard to address this ongoing problem, it is now time for patients themselves to become part of this effort.

Accredited health care organizations will be receiving information about the Speak Up campaign and samples of the Speak Up campaign brochure and buttons. The brochures are being tailored to specific organisations, beginning with hospitals. It has a blank panel which will permit hospitals (and eventually other types of healthcare organizations) to add information about their commitment to patient safety and their logo. Healthcare workers are urged to make the brochure available to patients. Additional buttons for staff (15 cents each plus shipping and handling) are available from the Customer Service Unit at (630) 792-5800. The artwork for hospitals is available on the JCAHO website.

For more information see the content of the Speak Up brochure (available at For questions, contact Cathy Barry-Ipema, cipema{at}jcaho.orgor 630-792-5630. More information is available in the May issue of Joint Commission Perspectives.