Indeed, studies point to medical errors as a leading cause of death in the United States, and the National Patient Safety Foundation Monday issued a “call to action” (PDF) for a coordinated public health response to take steps to prevent avoidable errors.
“Too often, efforts to blame individuals and organizations for preventable harm diverts attention and resources away from a more effective and sustainable collective response,” the organization announced on Monday, the first day of patient safety awareness week.
The NPSF said greater collaboration and a nationwide adoption of a public health framework will help guide efforts to prevent healthcare harm. This type of approach has already helped reduce healthcare-associated infections, the organization said.
using checklists, medication barcoding, revamped care transitions), but others haven’t yet been able to introduce the interventions or replicate the results.
Instead of finger-pointing and blame, the agency urges more collaboration and a coordinated, system-wide effort geared at providing safe care delivery across the continuum of care. This will require the support of healthcare workers, patient and families.
The call to action urges:
- The creation of a national steering committee patient safety to set national patient harm reduction goals and establish a nationwide action plan.
- The establishment of a centralized and coordinated national oversight of patient safety.
- Partnership with patients and families by engaging them in their care.
- Creation of national patient safety benchmarks to effective measure and monitor progress, and eliminate invalid measures.
- Identification of the causes of harm and interventions that work. This will require funding for research on preventing healthcare harm and the creation of a Health IT Safety Center that optimizes technology and minimizes unintended consequences.
- Expansion of resources to support the healthcare workforce, including initiatives to improve working conditions and establishment of communication, apology and resolution programs.