Patient Safety Starts with You

While you are at Virginia Mason, you are the most important member of your health care team.

  • Let us know how we are doing.
  • Tell us if we can provide better care for you.
  • Ask questions about anything you don’t understand.

Input from our patients helps us improve service and provide a safer health care environment. You should feel comfortable and empowered to question anything that you don’t understand.

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You are part of our safety team

Everyone at Virginia Mason – including patients, families and friends – is a safety inspector.

Here are some ways you can be a safety inspector:

Know about your care

  • You and your doctor should agree on exactly what will happen to you in the hospital.
  • Know who will be taking care of you.
  • Know how long a treatment or procedure will last.
  • Know how you should expect to feel after a treatment or procedure.

Pay attention

  • Watch what is happening in the room around you.
  • Know what is happening to you.
  • If you don’t know, ask.
  • If you still don’t understand, please ask again.

Enlist your friends and family

  • Encourage a trusted family member or friend to stay with you as your "health care partner," especially if you feel the need for extra support or advice.
  • Ask your advocate to be your “eyes and ears” – to know everything that is happening to you and why.
  • Ask your advocate to speak up if something seems strange.
  • Make sure your advocate knows how you feel about resuscitation and life support.

Speak up

  • Voice questions or concerns.
  • Don’t be embarrassed to point out something that seems wrong.

Call the Family Activated Safety Team (FAST)

The Family Activated Safety Team (FAST) provides you with extra help in the hospital when you have concerns about your care or the care of a family member. Activate FAST by dialing 6-FAST (ext. 63278) from any hospital phone. Within minutes, members of the FAST team will respond directly to your hospital room. Reasons to call the FAST hotline can include:

  • Being concerned the medical team is not recognizing or addressing a change related to your own medical condition or the condition of a family member.
  • Experiencing problems with the way care is being given, such as confusion about treatment and what needs to be done.

Providing a safe care environment for you and your family is our top priority. If anything is happening that you feel could compromise the care you receive, please talk to a staff member or call the FAST hotline. We want to address your concerns at the earliest possible opportunity.

Check for ID badges

  • Look for ID badges – every staff member must wear one.
  • Don’t let anyone care for you who is not wearing a badge.

Make sure staff wash their hands.

  • All staff are required to wash their hands.
  • They must wash their hands before and after everything they do.
  • If they don’t, please ask them to do so.

Make sure you are the right patient.

  • Staff must identify you before they provide care to you.
  • They must use two methods of identification every time.
  • If your caregiver does not use two methods – please remind them to do so.

Know your medications

  • Ask about the reason for all of your medications.
  • If a pill looks unfamiliar to you – don’t take it unless you know what it is.
  • Get written information about your prescriptions, and read it.
  • Make sure you can read your doctor’s writing on your prescriptions.

Our Commitment to Patient Safety

Patient safety is Virginia Mason’s top priority. We understand that to provide the best care, our care also needs to be the safest. View Virginia Mason's Quality and Safety Facts.

In addition to participating in a national patient safety initiative with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Virginia Mason is one of a group of leading hospitals nationwide joining with the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) as part of its Stand Up for Patient Safety program. Gary S. Kaplan, MD, Chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason, serves on the board of directors of the NPSF, founded in 1996 by the American Medical Association and other influential organizations.

We welcome your feedback about your experience as a patient at Virginia Mason. Please share it with a member of your care team or ask to speak with the manager of your team. You may also send comments via e-mail to, or call the Patient Relations Department at (206) 223-6616, our Chairman and CEO, Gary Kaplan, MD, at (206) 223-6955.

Thank you for choosing Virginia Mason as your health care provider – and for helping us in our efforts to keep you safe and provide you with the best health care available.