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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.

Francoise A. Marvel, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine within the Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, codirector of the Johns Hopkins Digital Health Innovation Lab, and the chief executive officer (CEO) and cofounder of Corrie... Read More

The focus on patient safety in the ambulatory setting was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and appropriately shifting priorities to responding to the pandemic. This piece explores some of the core themes of patient safety in the ambulatory setting,... Read More

All Perspectives (339)

1 - 20 of 20 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.
Barry M. Manuel, MD; Jack L. McCarthy; William Berry, MD, MPH; Kathy Dwyer |
In 1990, a Harvard-based research team reported the incidence of medical errors in the state of New York, based on the hospital discharge analysis of 30,121 cases.
Arpana R. Vidyarthi, MD; Robert B. Baron, MD, MS |
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.
Alan H. Rosenstein, MD, MBA; Michelle O'Daniel, MSG, MHA |
The 1999 Institute of Medicine report highlighted the need for health care providers to address the serious concerns raised about the quality and safety of patient care being provided in our health care organizations. Organizations responded by looking at new ways to fix the system, mostly through the introduction of new technologies and system/process redesign. Advances have been made, but there are still significant opportunities for improvement. Is the barrier poor system or process design, or is it related to addressing basic human behaviors?
Gerald B. Hickson, MD, is one of the world's leading experts on physician behavior and its connection to clinical outcomes and medical malpractice. He is a Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he is also the Joseph C. Ross Chair in Medical Education and Administration, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, and Director of Clinical Risk and Loss Prevention. We asked him to speak with us about high-risk physicians and malpractice.
Dean Schillinger, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco, Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, and Chief of the California Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. His role as a practicing clinician at a safety net hospital (San Francisco General Hospital) has put him in a unique position to pursue influential and relevant research related to health literacy and improving care for vulnerable populations.
Allen Kachalia, MD, JD |
Disclosure of medical error is inextricably linked to today's patient safety efforts. Health care experts advocate that greater disclosure is necessary to achieve complete transparency and ameliorate barriers to error reporting.(1,2) Of course, the ethical obligations triggered by the occurrence of a medical error are not to be overlooked. Principles of fiduciary duty, patient autonomy, and equity all strongly support the ethical and moral mandate for physicians to disclose harmful errors to patients.(3) These principles weigh in favor of disclosure even if it is contrary to the physician's interests (e.g., malpractice risk or reputation). As a result, the issue of disclosure garners tremendous attention in today's medical literature.
Thomas H. Gallagher, MD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Medical History and Ethics at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Gallagher's current research covers the disclosure of medical errors, examining patients' and doctors' attitudes about disclosure, how best to train providers to disclose and apologize for errors, and how to create a system that promotes appropriate disclosure. We asked him to speak with us about new developments in the field of patient disclosure and apologies.
Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH, is Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Saint's research has focused on reducing health care–associated infections, with a particular focus on preventing catheter-related urinary tract infections (UTIs). We asked him to speak with us about how research on UTI prevention provides broader lessons for patient safety.
Jennifer Daley, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer of Partners Community Healthcare Inc., the organization for the 6000 physicians employed/affiliated with Partners HealthCare System (which includes Massachusetts General and Brigham & Women's Hospitals). From 2002 to 2007, she was the Chief Medical Officer for Tenet Healthcare, one of the nation's largest hospital systems, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of Tenet's Commitment to Quality (C2Q). Her academic background (including her previous directorship of the Center for Health Systems Design and Evaluation in the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Partners HealthCare) and her years of leadership at a huge multistate private sector system provide her with a unique perch from which to view patient safety implementation in complex systems.
Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc |
Hospital discharge is often viewed as the end of an acute medical event. Goodbyes are said as patients pack their belongings and return home. Physicians scratch the patient's name off their rounding list, and hospital staff remove the patient from the census as they clean out the room...
Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado. Trained in both geriatrics and health services research, Dr. Coleman has emerged as one of the world's leading authorities on issues surrounding transitions of care, particularly between acute and postacute settings. His care model, the Care Transitions Intervention, is being adopted by leading health care organizations around the country. The Intervention has been associated with significant decreases in rehospitalization rates.
James L. Reinertsen, MD, heads the Reinertsen Group, a prominent health care consulting firm based in Wyoming. Prior to that, he was CEO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he developed a reputation for his unwavering focus on safety and quality. He is also a senior faculty member at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), where he has taken a role in teaching leadership skills and promoting the engagement of health care boards and "C-suites" in patient safety efforts. He was a prime driver behind the IHI's decision to include the "Boards on Board" initiative as part of its recent 5 Million Lives Campaign. We asked him to speak with us about the role of boards in improving patient safety.
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.
Jeffrey B. Cooper, PhD |
My journey into patient safety began in 1972. It was born of serendipity enabled by the good fortune of extraordinary mentors, an environment that supported exploration and allowed for interdisciplinary teamwork, and my own intellectual curiosity. The...
John Banja, PhD, is Assistant Director for Health Sciences and Clinical Ethics and Associate Professor of Clinical Ethics at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Banja, whose doctorate is in philosophy, is currently participating in AHRQ-funded studies designed to help clinicians communicate more effectively in emotionally charged situations after errors or unforeseen outcomes. His book, Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism, covers issues around the appropriate, ethical disclosure of medical errors by health care professionals.