New York State Department of Health Celebrates National Patient Safety Awareness Week March 2-8

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 3, 2014) – In recognition of National Patient Safety Awareness Week March 2-8, State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., is encouraging healthcare providers throughout the state to work together to improve the quality of patient care.

Led by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), National Patient Safety Awareness Week is an annual education and awareness campaign for health care safety. The theme for this year's week is Navigate Your Health…Safely. According to NPSF, experts estimate that up to one in every 10 diagnoses is wrong, delayed, or missed completely, and collectively, diagnostic errors may account for 40,000-80,000 deaths per year in the US.

"Patient Safety Awareness Week provides a valuable opportunity to remind providers, patients, and their families about the vital role teamwork and open discussion play in improving the health care delivery system," State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., said. "The State Health Department will continue to identify and implement effective, innovative solutions to prevent patient harm and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, readmissions, and hospital-acquired infections. These efforts help ensure all New Yorkers have access to safe, high-quality care."

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) provides an array of resources and is advancing innovative technology-based solutions to help New Yorkers effectively navigate the health care system and access quality care. The Department's open health data website, Health Data NY ( is a recognized national model in making health information and data transparent to consumers and health care providers. Health Data NY is also a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Open NY initiative (, a comprehensive and transparent website that connects government on all levels with the people it serves.

New York's Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), an advanced statewide health information exchange, is also recognized nationally. Through Regional Health Information Organizations links across the state, SHIN-NY will enable a network of participating hospitals, physician practices, long term care providers, and insurers to access and exchange timely clinical data within a secure system that protects patient confidentiality.

The New York State Perinatal Quality Collaborative (NYSPQC) Obstetrical Improvement Project, a statewide initiative begun by DOH, is helping to significantly reduce the number of early scheduled deliveries without medical indication. Facilitated in 2012 by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), NYSPCQ aligned with the New York State Partnership for Patients (NYSPFP) with the goal of expanding the implementation of strategies to improve perinatal outcomes throughout the state. The NYSPFP is an initiative to reduce hospital-acquired infections by 40 percent and preventable readmissions by 20 percent

The Department, along with other professional and provider organizations across the continuum of health care, is an active partner in the Gold Stamp Program, an initiative to reduce the incidence of facility-acquired pressure ulcers. In 2010, the pressure ulcer rate among high-risk residents in nursing homes in New York was 14 percent. Through the Gold Stamp effort, that rate decreased dramatically to 8.2 percent by 2012. Between 2011 and 2012, there was a 17 percent decrease in the number of nursing home residents with a primary diagnosis of pressure ulcers, 34 percent decrease among patients in home care agencies, and a 17 percent decrease among hospital patients.

The Department's Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement has undertaken a number of initiatives seeking to improve patient safety focused on prescription drug awareness and safety, most recently through the implementation of the I-STOP controlled substance prescription monitoring program (PMP). Since I-STOP's effective date of August 27, 2013, the PMP Registry has been widely used. Between August 27, 2013 and February 25, 2014, 69,159 users performed nearly 8,072,413 individual searches for 3,728,772 separate patients. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, I-STOP has become a national model for more effectively tracking controlled substances by requiring pharmacies to report prescription information to New York's prescription monitoring program registry in real time. The use of this information not only protects health care providers when they prescribe medications for legitimate patients, it also curbs prescription drug abuse. (

Additional information about patient safety for patients, families and professionals can be found at:

Additional Information about the Gold Stamp Program can be found at: