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.

All Perspectives (341)

Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 Results
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.
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...
Rainu Kaushal, MD MPH; Sekhar Upadhyayula, MD; David M. Gaba, MD; Lucian L. Leape, MD |
Over the last decade, surgical operations and interventional procedures have been performed increasingly in offices with the administration of office-based anesthesia (OBA).(1) Economic considerations and convenience have driven this increase. Schultz...
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.
Jack Barker, PhD, is Vice President of Research and Development for Mach One Leadership and a commercial pilot for a major airline. Dr. Barker began his career in the Air Force and proceeded to get his doctorate in cognitive psychology. His research has centered on high-performance teams, crew resource management (CRM), and training. He has trained hundreds of commercial airline pilots, as well as pilots and others working for NASA in the Space Shuttle program and Mars mission. His company, like several others, works with health care providers and organizations in an effort to translate aviation safety principles to health care.