Making Patient Safety a Priority

Letter from the Chairman, October 2019

Dear PatientAiders,

I’m so inspired by all of the dedicated people who attended this year’s Midyear Planning Meeting. I believe these people, and the discussions that took place, will help us get to our goal of ZERO preventable deaths. I’m reminded of a quote from Margaret Mead who once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.” There’s no doubt that the small group of people and organizations that are making patient safety a priority are indeed changing the world of healthcare. You can join this Movement and be part of this group of committed people and together, we can plan for ZERO.

It was an honor to recognize the three hospital systems that earned our 5-Star Hospital Award for their commitments aligned with our 18 evidence-based Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS). These APSS are designed to help hospitals eliminate preventable patient deaths – the third leading cause of death in the US. Congratulations to Dignity Health, Medstar Health and UPMC for implementing best practices in patient care and for providing a model for others to follow. If your hospital has not implemented all of our APSS, I encourage you to follow the examples set by all of our 5-Star organizations. Please go back and closely examine your organizational processes and our APSS to see what more you have to do. If we all commit to implementing the APSS, we truly can achieve ZERO.

This month, we’re excited to co-convene the African Patient Safety Initiative High-level Forum in Cape Town, South Africa on October 24-25. This Forum, co-convened by the WHO, ISQua, IHI, and the PSMF will bring ministerial leaders across Africa together to focus on global patient safety concerns. We’re also looking forward to our 2020 World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, March 5 – 7 in Huntington Beach, CA. Registration is now open.  Thank you to the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the European Society of Anaesthesiology for partnering with us to put on this important event. This year, the Summit includes a Pre-Summit Symposium, March 5. We encourage you to present your work at the Symposium. Please submit an abstract before November 22, 2019 to be considered.

At our Midyear Meeting we announced that we are in the midst of planning a “March for Patient Safety” on September 17, 2020 to amplify the momentum we’ve generated to keep patients safe. We will be sure to let you know as the planning progresses and will have an update, including the slogan, to announce soon. Sign up here to be kept in the loop.

You can now follow us on Instagram, @plan4zero. We expanded our social media presence to Instagram to better engage with the patient safety community, particularly our younger audiences. This week we saw the power of the youth in moving the climate change agenda forward, perhaps we can do the same with patient safety.

In this Issue

This month’s blog is written by Ehi Iden, CEO of the Occupational Health and Safety Managers and PSMF Regional Network Chair in Nigeria. Iden examines some of the patient safety challenges faced by many African nations and the need to change the healthcare infrastructure, instill a culture of safety to reduce patient harm and deaths, and increase the budget allocated to healthcare.

The Spotlight this month shines on UPMC, one of our recent 5-Star Hospital winners, and the solution they created to deal with drug shortages. These shortages are more common than most people think and can create serious risks for patients. UPMC analyzed their needs and the ability for their suppliers to respond, put multidisciplinary teams together to review supplies and potential shortages daily, and developed a technology solution that helps them analyze market trends and anticipate drug shortages. The new system and processes have made UPMC more efficient, helps them track more products than they could manually, and lets the teams make decisions quickly.

There’s no doubt that we’re making significant progress on the patient safety front but there’s still much work to be done. Patients continue to die every day from preventable medical errors, and we need to work with urgency to embrace change, to implement every APSS and best practice, and instill a culture of safety. The time to act is now.  Don’t hope for zero, plan for zero!

If you’re unsure about what to do next, contact us – we’re here to help you save lives.