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NLM Resources for Patient Safety Awareness Week

March 2-8, 2014 is Patient Safety Awareness Week, established by the National Patient Safety Foundation, which supports “Creating a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm.”  The National Library of Medicine (NLM) supports the work to keep patients and healthcare providers free from harm by making available quality health information.

Below is information from the NLM MedlinePlus “Patient Safety” health topic Web page that describes actions patients can take:

You can help prevent medical errors by being an active member of your health care team. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. To reduce the risk of medical errors, you can:

  • Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns. Take a relative or friend to your doctor appointment to help you ask questions and understand answers.
  • Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery
  • Tell your health care providers about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements. Tell them if you have any allergies or bad reactions to anesthesia. Make sure you know how to take your medications correctly.
  • Get a second opinion about treatment options
  • Keep a copy of your own health history

Also, the NLM has two prominent health information Web sites that assists patients and healthcare providers to learn more about particular health issues.  These Internet resources can help patients and providers get more involved with their medical care and research alternative treatments.

MedlinePlus  You can use MedlinePlus to learn about the latest treatments, look up information on a drug or supplement, find out the meanings of words, or view medical videos or illustrations. You can also get links to the latest medical research on your topic or find out about clinical trials on a disease or condition.

PubMed  PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.  Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

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