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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 - 16 of 16 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.