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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

Remle Crowe, PhD, NREMT, is the Director of Clinical and Operational Research at ESO. In her professional role, she provides strategic direction for the research mission of the organization, including oversight of a warehouse research data set of de... Read More

Michael L. Millenson is the President of Health Quality Advisors LLC, author of the critically acclaimed book Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age, and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at... Read More

Errors in medication management and administration are major threats to patient safety. This piece explores issues with opioid and nursing-sensitive medication safety as well as medication safety in older adults. Future research directions in... Read More

All Perspectives (333)

1 - 20 of 25 Results
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. Skochelak is the Group Vice President for Medical Education at the American Medical Association (AMA). She leads the AMA's Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, which aims to align physician training with the changing needs of our health care system. We spoke with her about her experience in medical education.
Professor Lawton is Director of the Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Center, a Professor in the Psychology of Healthcare at the University of Leeds, and a health psychologist who conducts research on human factors and patient involvement in patient safety. We spoke with her about her experience with patient engagement and insights gleaned from her research.
Dr. Drew is the David Mortara Distinguished Professor of Physiological Nursing and Clinical Professor of Medicine in Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco. We spoke with her about the perils and prevalence of alert fatigue.
Dr. Urbach is Professor of Surgery and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. We spoke with him about his study evaluating the effectiveness of checklists in Ontario, Canada and its implications for a variety of safety interventions.
A pioneer in patient safety, Dr. Leape is Adjunct Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and Chairman of the Lucian Leape Institute of the National Patient Safety Foundation. His groundbreaking research has focused on patient safety and quality of care. We spoke with him about checklists and the field of patient safety.
Dr. Coiera, a professor at the University of New South Wales, has extensively researched and written about clinical communication processes and information systems. We spoke with him about how interruptions and distractions in the clinical environment influence patient safety.
Anne Collins McLaughlin, PhD |
The use of checklists is a primitive yet remarkably effective strategy for ensuring accuracy in complex tasks. Checklists have long been used in fields such as aviation and space exploration but have only recently made headway in medicine. The reluctance of medical professionals to adopt checklists is often framed as pushback against "more paperwork" and "cookbook medicine," or due to disbelief in their effectiveness. However, a rich literature has helped establish many best practices in checklist design, and health care now stands to benefit.
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.
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.
Michael S. Wolf, PhD, MPH; Stacy Cooper Bailey, MPH |
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. 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.
At the University of California, San Francisco, Robert M. Wachter, MD, is Professor and Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine; Associate Chairman of the Department of Medicine; Lynne and Marc Benioff Endowed Chair in Hospital Medicine; and Chief of the Medical Service at UCSF Medical Center. He is also Editor of AHRQ WebM&M and AHRQ Patient Safety Network.
Jeffrey M. Rothschild, MD, MPH; Carol Keohane, RN, BSN |
Medication safety in hospitals depends on the successful execution of a complex system of scores of individual tasks that can be categorized into five stages: ordering or prescribing, preparing, dispensing, transcribing, and monitoring the patient's response. Many of these tasks lend themselves to technologic tools. Over the past 20 years, technology has played an increasingly larger role toward achieving the five rights of medication safety: getting the right dose of the right drug to the right patient using the right route and at the right time. While several of these technologies may incur significant upfront and maintenance costs, the net impact over time may be reduced overall institutional costs and improvements in work efficiency. Examples of technologic tools commonly seen in many hospitals today include computerized provider order entry (CPOE) with decision support and automatic dispensing carts, also known as medication dispensing robots. While outside the scope of this Perspective, it is important to emphasize that many nontechnologic interventions, such as clinical pharmacists on physician rounds, can be equally effective in improving medication safety.
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.