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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 23 Results
Irene Berita Murimi, PhD, MA, and G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS |
This piece explores the opioid epidemic in the United States, including factors that led to increased opioid prescribing, its adverse effects, and tactics to reduce opioid-related harm.
Dr. Juurlink is professor of medicine, pediatrics, and health policy at the University of Toronto, where he is also director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology. We spoke with him about the opioid epidemic and strategies to address this growing patient safety concern.
Sumant Ranji, MD |
The toll of medical errors is often expressed in terms of mortality attributable to patient safety problems. In 2016, there was considerable debate regarding the number of patients who die due to medical errors. This Annual Perspective explores the methodological approaches to estimating mortality attributable to preventable adverse events and discusses the benefits and limitations of existing approaches.
Urmimala Sarkar, MD, and Kaveh Shojania, MD |
Opioids are known to be high risk medications, and concerns about patient harm from prescription opioid misuse have been increasing in the United States. This Annual Perspective summarizes research published in 2016 that explored the extent of harm from their use, described problematic prescribing practices that likely contribute to adverse events, and demonstrated some promising practices to foster safer opioid use.
Urmimala Sarkar, MD, and Kaveh Shojania, MD |
Computerized provider order entry is a cornerstone of patient safety efforts, and the increasingly widespread implementation of electronic health records has made it a standard practice in health care. This Annual Perspective summarizes novel findings and research directions in computerized provider order entry in 2015.
Dr. Sarkar is an associate professor of medicine at UCSF whose research has focused on ambulatory patient safety, including missed and delayed diagnosis, adverse drug events, and monitoring failures for outpatients with chronic diseases. We spoke with her about patient safety in the ambulatory setting.
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.
Eric G. Poon, MD, MPH, is Director of Clinical Informatics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Poon’s research has focused on using health information technology to improve patient safety. He oversees the development and implementation of clinical applications including computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and barcode-assisted electronic medication administration record, and was lead author on the first rigorous study demonstrating the impact of a bar coding system in a hospital pharmacy. We asked him to speak with us about how such technology can augment medication safety.
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.
Allan Frankel, MD, is Director of Patient Safety for Partners HealthCare, the merged entity of Harvard hospitals and clinics that includes Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Frankel, an anesthesiologist by training, has been a key member of the faculty of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, co-chairing numerous Adverse Drug Events and Patient Safety Collaboratives. Dr. Frankel's work in patient safety focuses on leadership training, high reliability in health care, teamwork development, and cultural change. We asked Dr. Frankel to speak with us about developing a comprehensive patient safety program.
Nancy C. Elder, MD, MSPH |
Dr. Jones was sure he had increased Mr. H's cholesterol-lowering medication to 80 mg 6 months ago, but, at his visit today, his pill bottle still says 40 mg. In reviewing Ms. B's chart in preparation for performing a well-woman examination, Dr. Smith find...
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.