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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

Georgia Galanou Luchen, Pharm. D., is the Director of Member Relations at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). In this role, she leads initiatives related to community pharmacy practitioners and their impact throughout the care... Read More

This piece discusses an expanded view of maternal and infant safety that includes the concept of whole-person care, which addresses the structural and social determinants of maternal health. Read More

All Perspectives (327)

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Ann D. Gaffey, RN, MSN, CPHRM, DFASHRM is the President of Healthcare Risk and Safety Strategies, LLC. Bruce Spurlock, MD is the President and CEO of Cynosure Health. We spoke with them about their role in the development of the Making Healthcare Safer III Report and what new information they think audiences will find particularly useful and interesting.

Cindy Brach, MPP is a Senior Healthcare Researcher at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and is the Co-Chair of the HHS Health Literacy Workgroup. We spoke with her about the role of cultural competence in patient safety.

 

Dr. Brice is Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina. She also serves as the Program Director for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fellowship and was past-president of the National Association of EMS Physicians. We spoke with her about her experience working in emergency medical systems and safety concerns particular to this field.
Dr. Meltzer is the Fanny L. Pritzker Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine, and Director of the Center for Health and the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. His research aims to improve the quality and lower the cost of hospital care. We spoke with him about the Comprehensive Care Physician Model, which he pioneered and was recently featured in an article in The New York Times Magazine.
Dr. Krumholz is Professor of Medicine at the University of Yale School of Medicine and Director of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. We spoke with him about readmissions and post-hospital syndrome, a term he coined in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine to describe the risk of adverse health events in recently hospitalized patients.
Dr. Starmer is Director of Primary Care Quality Improvement and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. We spoke with her about handoffs and the implementation and findings of the landmark I-PASS study.
Dr. Arora is Director of GME Clinical Learning Environment Innovation and Assistant Dean for Scholarship and Discovery at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. We spoke with her about the intersection of health information technology and patient safety.
Emergency medicine has evolved from a location, with variably trained and experienced providers ("the ER"), to a discipline with a well-defined knowledge base and skill set that focus on the diagnosis and care of undifferentiated acute problems.(1) The importance of rapid diagnosis and treatment of serious conditions (e.g., myocardial infarction, stroke, trauma, and sepsis) has made timeliness not simply a determinant of patient satisfaction but also a significant safety and quality concern—delays in care can be deadly.(2) Emergency physicians (EPs) have identified delays caused by crowding from boarding of admitted patients as their most significant safety problem.(3) We present a model for understanding emergency department (ED) patient safety and identify solutions by deconstructing care into three realms: individual provider, patient, and environmental system (Table).
Thomas J. Nasca, MD, is the executive director and chief executive officer of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Prior to joining the ACGME in 2007, Dr. Nasca, a nephrologist, was dean of Jefferson Medical College and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of Thomas Jefferson University. We asked him to speak with us about the role of the ACGME in patient safety.
Clear health communication is increasingly recognized as essential for promoting patient safety. Yet according to a recent Joint Commission report, What Did the Doctor Say? Improving Health Literacy to Protect Patient Safety, communication problems among health care providers, patients, and families are common and a leading root cause of adverse outcomes.(1) Addressing health literacy—the capacity of individuals to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions—has become a primary objective for many health systems in order to protect patients from harm.
Most patient interactions with the health care system occur in the outpatient setting. Many potential and actual safety problems occur there as well.(1) Yet patient safety literature and practice do not seem to have reached deeply into ambulatory care. This is likely due to a combination of factors: in most practices, there is no layer of administration providing a second look at routine policies and procedures; there is no accrediting agency, like The Joint Commission, to mandate safe practices (2); and those of us in office practice are so consumed with simply getting through the day that it is difficult to recognize the problems, large and small, that can lead to major safety hazards. The business case for safety, such as it is, relies almost entirely on the malpractice rate-setting process: errors that result in litigation lead to higher premiums and personal and professional misery. However, as Studdert (3) has argued, relying on the malpractice system to identify and "correct" errors is unlikely to be timely or productive.