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Perspectives

Our Perspectives on Safety section features expert viewpoints on current themes in patient safety, including interviews and written essays published monthly. Annual Perspectives highlight vital and emerging patient safety topics.

Latest Perspectives

Freya Spielberg MD, MPH, is the Founder and CEO of Urgent Wellness LLC, a social enterprise dedicated to improving the health of Individuals living in low-income housing in Washington, DC. Previously, as an Associate Professor at George Washington... Read More

Jack Westfall, MD MPH, is a retired professor from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Former Director of the Robert Graham Center. We spoke with him about the role of primary care in the health and well-being of individuals, the... Read More

This piece focuses on the emergence and use of digital applications (apps), app-based products and devices for healthcare, and the implications for patient safety.

All Perspectives (341)

Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 Results
Dr. Schulz Moore is the Director of Learning and Teaching at the University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and an Associate with the University of New South Wales School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Her research in health law draws from her unique training in public health, law, and health social sciences. We spoke with her about disclosure and apology in health care as well as the intersection between health and legal systems in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Dr. McDonald is President of the Center for Open and Honest Communication at the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, and Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University-Chicago School of Law and the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy. An internationally recognized patient safety expert, he served as a lead architect for the Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) toolkit, supported by AHRQ. We spoke with him about lessons learned over the years regarding event reporting and his insights about building and disseminating communication-and-resolution programs.
Dr. Schiff is Associate Director of Brigham and Women's Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Quality and Safety Director for the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care. He was an invited expert and reviewer for the Improving Diagnosis in Health Care report of the National Academy of Medicine. We spoke with him about understanding and preventing diagnostic errors.
Sumant Ranji, MD |
The toll of medical errors is often expressed in terms of mortality attributable to patient safety problems. In 2016, there was considerable debate regarding the number of patients who die due to medical errors. This Annual Perspective explores the methodological approaches to estimating mortality attributable to preventable adverse events and discusses the benefits and limitations of existing approaches.
Dr. Graber founded the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine and the journal, Diagnosis. We spoke with him about the recent National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) Improving Diagnosis in Health Care report, and about diagnostic errors more generally.
Pat Croskerry, MD, PhD, is a professor in emergency medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Trained as an experimental psychologist, Dr. Croskerry went on to become an emergency medicine physician, and found himself surprised by the relatively scant amount of attention given to cognitive errors. He has gone on to become one of the world's foremost experts in safety in emergency medicine and in diagnostic errors. We spoke to him about both.
An engineer and an attorney by training, David Marx, JD, is president of Outcome Engineering, a risk management firm. After a career focused on safety assessment and improvement in aviation, he has spent the last decade focusing on the interface between systems engineering, human factors, and the law. In 2001, he wrote a seminal paper describing the concept of just culture, which became a focal point for efforts to reconcile notions of "no blame" and "accountability." He has gone on to form the "Just Culture Community" to address these issues at health care institutions around the country.
Sorrel King is the mother of Josie King, who died tragically in 2001 at age 18 months because of medical errors during a hospitalization at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She has subsequently become one of the nation’s foremost patient advocates for safety, forming an influential foundation (the Josie King Foundation) and partnering with Johns Hopkins to promote the field of patient safety around the world.
Rosemary Gibson, MSc |
Patients have three roles in improving patient safety: helping to ensure their own safety, working with health care organizations to improve safety at the organization and unit level, and advocating as citizens for public reporting and accountability of hospital and health system performance. The following case illustrates how patients can help ensure their own safety.
Lucian Leape, MD, is generally known as the father of the modern patient safety movement in the United States. A Harvard professor, Leape shifted his career two decades ago from his clinical practice as a pediatric surgeon to a focus on understanding how medical errors occur and how patient safety can be improved. The result was several groundbreaking studies and commentaries that helped shift the paradigm from "bad people" to "bad systems," and which paved the way for the Institute of Medicine report, "To Err is Human," which he helped write. He has received dozens of honors, including the John M. Eisenberg patient safety award, the duPont Award for Excellence in Children's Health Care, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator's Award in Health Policy Research. He spoke to us about his remarkable career and his thoughts about the patient safety movement.
In October 2004, in what immediately became a landmark paper in patient safety, Dr. Landrigan and his colleagues reported the results of their study on sleep deprivation and medical errors among interns. The AHRQ-funded study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed 36% more serious errors and 5.6 times more serious diagnostic errors among interns working a traditional schedule of more than 24 hours in a row than among interns working shorter shifts (1). We spoke with Dr. Landrigan, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, about his research and his thoughts on how the study findings might affect residency training in the future.