Skip to main content

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 - 19 of 19 Results
Dr. Meyer is Chief Clinical Officer of Partners Healthcare System, the large Boston-based system that includes Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospitals. We spoke with him about training and certification in patient safety.
Ms. Gibson is Senior Advisor to The Hastings Center, an editor for JAMA Internal Medicine, and co-author of Wall of Silence and The Treatment Trap. We spoke with her about overuse of medical care and its effect on patient safety.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Alison H. Page, MS, MHA |
We've all been there...something goes wrong, a patient is harmed, and we, as medical directors, managers, and administrators, are forced to judge the behavioral choices of another human being. Most of the time, we conduct this complex leadership function guided by little more than vague policies, personal beliefs, and intuition. Frequently, we are frustrated by the fact that many other providers have made the same mistake or behavioral choice, with no adverse outcome to the patient, and the behavior was overlooked. Quite understandably, the staff is frustrated by what appears to be inconsistent, irrational decision-making by leadership. The "just culture" concept teaches us to shift our attention from retrospective judgment of others, focused on the severity of the outcome, to real-time evaluation of behavioral choices in a rational and organized manner.
Atul Gawande, MD, MA, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, is an accomplished surgeon and writer and is the recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship. He is an active clinician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Gawande has written two acclaimed and best-selling books: Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science and Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance. A staff writer for the New Yorker, he also recently completed a stint as a guest columnist for the New York Times. Dr. Gawande is leading the World Health Organization's Second Global Patient Safety Challenge: "Safe Surgery Saves Lives." We asked him to speak with us about professionalism, training, patient safety, and the writing process.
Sir Liam Donaldson, MD, MSc, is England's Chief Medical Officer, a post often referred to as "the Nation's Doctor" (similar to the role of the U.S. Surgeon General). Trained as a surgeon, Sir Liam has been an inspirational leader in public health and health care quality in the United Kingdom for two decades. He has also emerged as a world leader in the patient safety field, authoring or commissioning dozens of influential reports, and serving as the founding chair of the World Health Organization's World Alliance for Patient Safety. We spoke to him about patient safety from an international perspective.
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.
Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN |
The goal set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1999 to reduce medical errors by half within 5 years has not been achieved. Opinion polls of consumers and health professionals show that concerns about patient safety remain high. Yet only 16% of hospital...