President Clinton calls for a culture of conversion to promote patient safety in healthcare.
Irvine, Calif., June 2, 2023 — President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, headlined day two of the 10th Annual World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, presented by the Patient Safety Movement Foundation (PSMF).
As a long-time advocate of patient safety, President Clinton spoke of the need to develop what he termed a “culture of conversion,” where more people within healthcare feel empowered to implement proven practices for eliminating preventable harm within hospitals.
“We know enough right now to cut the current problem by half or more,” he said. “One of the biggest problems you have in every big, complicated society is that there’s an incredibly built-in resistance to being the second, third, fourth, or 100th person to do the same thing, even though it’s been proven to work. Which is exactly the reverse of what we should be doing.”
Reflecting on his time in office during the 1990s, President Clinton said that we could learn much from the example of former South African President Nelson Mandela when it comes to uniting people behind a common cause for good.
“Everyone wants to believe they have some piece to add to life’s great puzzle,” he said. “You need converts to do anything big, and we’ve got to get more zealous converts. Nelson Mandela was a genius at this. He was the best I ever saw. He never tried to make people feel bad for what they hadn’t done. He tried to make people feel good about what they could do.”
Having long been a campaigner on the dangers of the opioid epidemic and a supporter of the PSMF since its inception, President Clinton suggested that it is important to focus on collaborating for future good rather than blaming and shaming when it comes to medical errors.
“No one wants to see innocent people die, and very few are hard-hearted enough not to care,” he said. “You don’t have to save everybody; you just have to save everybody that you can.”
Dr. Michael Ramsay, chief executive officer of the PSMF, told the audience that there is much cause for optimism when it comes to meeting the target of zero preventable deaths by 2030. “I think there’s a future now to patient safety,” he said. “I think things are going to start happening remarkably fast. Technology is changing, we’re gathering more data, and we’ve got more and more people involved in this movement.”
Jeremy Hunt, chancellor of the exchequer of the United Kingdom, delivered a video message to the Summit in which he applauded the difference made by the PSMF over the last decade. “We now have the World Health Organization doing an annual World Patient Safety Day, a 10-year plan to reduce preventable deaths, and we had a ministerial summit this year in Montreux in Switzerland with more than 100 countries represented. We’re making great progress, but there’s a lot of work to do. Even one preventable death is too many. We should be aiming for zero.”
Following on from President Clinton’s remarks about creating the right culture for change within healthcare, Anthony Staines, patient safety program director, Fédération des hôpitaux vaudois, Switzerland, described the need to address the failings of implementation science, a topic also addressed in a talk from Francisco Valero-Cuevas, a professor at the University of Southern California.
“There are many prevention and mitigation solutions, but they are only partly and unsystematically applied,” said Staines. “Science has brought us an expanding body of knowledge. The trouble is that it does not reach the patients.”
There were additional talks from Peter Ziese, chief medical officer at Philips, and Michelle Schreiber of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Schreiber told the audience that while healthcare throughout the United States has made significant improvements in patient safety, the pandemic illustrated how our systems are still not durable and resilient enough for times of stress, and gaps in care and infrastructure continue to persist.
Mike Durkin and Sanaz Massoumi, chairman and chief operating officer of the PSMF respectively, gave addresses, and panel discussion topics included the media’s role in covering patient safety, opioid safety, and steps that can be taken in the journey to zero harm. Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón, secretary of foreign affairs of Mexico, received the Joe Kiani Humanitarian Award for his work in patient safety.
Finally, Kiani, founder of the PSMF, reflected on a decade of achievement and the path forward. “We started as a grassroots organization, and the grassroots movement has done so much,” he said. “I think our next step is to demand our elected officials to hardwire patient safety into our system and align the incentives so that every hospital puts evidence-based practices in place.”
ABOUT THE PATIENT SAFETY MOVEMENT FOUNDATION
In 2012, Joe Kiani founded the non-profit Patient Safety Movement Foundation (PSMF) to eliminate preventable medical errors in hospitals. His team worked with patient safety experts from around the world to create Actionable Evidence-Based Practices (AEBP) that address the top challenges. The AEBP are available without charge to hospitals online. Hospitals are encouraged to make a formal commitment to ZERO preventable deaths, and healthcare technology companies are asked to sign the Open Data Pledge to share their data so that predictive algorithms that can identify errors before they become fatal can be developed. The Foundation’s annual World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit brings together all stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, medical technology companies, government employers, and private payers. The PSMF was established through the support of the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation, and Competition in Healthcare. For more information, please visit psmf.org.
Patient Safety Movement Foundation
Irene Mulonni, [email protected] | (858) 859-7001