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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 - 18 of 18 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.
Rachel J. Stern, MD, and Urmimala Sarkar, MD |
Patient engagement is widely acknowledged as a cornerstone of patient safety. Research in 2018 demonstrates that patient engagement, when done correctly, can help health care systems identify safety hazards, regain trust after they occur, and codesign sustainable solutions.
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.
Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University and Director of the Johns Hopkins Quality and Safety Research Group. He may be best known for having led the Michigan Keystone project, which used checklists and other interventions to markedly reduce catheter-associated bloodstream infections in ICUs throughout the state. For this work and more, he received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and Time Magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. We asked him to speak with us about checklists and other thoughts about the science of improving patient safety.
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.
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.
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.
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.
James P. Bagian, MD, is the Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety. Dr. Bagian began his career as a mechanical engineer, then became a physician, trained in surgery and anesthesia. A NASA Astronaut for 15 years, he flew on two space shuttle flights. In 2001, the American Medical Association awarded him the Nathan S. Davis Award for outstanding public service in the advancement of public health. We asked Dr. Bagian to speak with us about his experience transforming safety at in Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide.
Michael Cohen, RPh, MS, ScD, is president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) and co-editor of ISMP Medication Safety Alert!, a biweekly newsletter. A pharmacist by training, his ground-breaking work and commitment to patient safety and preventing medication errors has spanned three decades. He received one of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowships (informally known as the "genius awards") in 2005.
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.