Mitigating Medical Errors

Letter from the Chairman, June 2019

Dear Patientaiders,

It’s hard to believe that it’s June and we are halfway done with 2019. Father’s day is coming up and I know too many fathers that lost their children and I know too many stories of children that lost their fathers to medical errors. Please honor their memory and if your hospital has not implemented all of the Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS), I ask you to begin the process this month. If every hospital implements every APSS, we would virtually eliminate preventable patient deaths from medical errors around the world. For many of us, it requires going outside our comfort zone; but, I promise it is well worth it. You literally start saving lives the second you start focusing on implementing the processes and creating a culture of safety.  I have seen it first hand.

I look forward to seeing many of you on World Patient Safety Day at our Midyear Planning Meeting on September 17. If you haven’t already done so, please ask for your invitation to attend.

This month’s spotlight is about Dr. Nathaniel Sims and his work in improving medication safety. Dr. Sims is a Cardiac Anesthesiologist and Advisor to Biomedical Engineering at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sim’s held patents on smart infusion pumps.  Smart infusion pumps have saved countless lives. His team’s commitment to improve medication safety at our last Summit is phenomenal.

We also feature a blog article written by Tracy Granzyk. She is the Editor and Chief of the online literary journal called “Please See Me” and the Founder and Director for the Center for Healthcare Narratives for Quality and Safety at MedStar. She speaks to the need to cultivate a better patient and provider partnership. I love this creative space where both patients and providers can make their voices be heard through poetry, film and fiction. Tracy believes that when there is a deeper understanding and connection, the chance of errors in healthcare is lessened.

Together, we have a rare opportunity to make history. Patients are dying from human errors on our watch and we can do something about it.   We know that there are evidence-based practices that can mitigate human errors from becoming fatal.  Our hardworking workgroups have taken these evidence-based practices and created 17 Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS), that if implemented can dramatically reduce if not eliminate preventable deaths in our hospitals.  Let’s make this year the year we put proven processes, APSS, in place to eliminate the third leading cause of death – medical errors. As an inventor, there is no greater joy to know that a technology I’ve developed has saved a life. As a clinician, I know this is what gets you up every day. I also know the amount of love you have for your patients and fellow colleagues. Let’s not wait for someone else to make the first move. Please take the first step and contact us – we will help you and your hospital implement all of the APSS and start saving lives at your hospital.