The American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety (ASPPS) is a membership program for professionals
and others interested in patient safety. This is part of a series of member profiles.
by Joanna Carmona
Rupa Lloyd, JD, LHRM, CPPS, Dell Graham, PA
What does patient safety mean to you?
“It means equipping clinicians with systems and processes that help them to avoid error, and keeping patients from suffering from injuries from the very place they sought out healing.”
You did pro-bono work as a law clerk at the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, which advocates for low-income patients. What are some patient safety issues facing this population?
“Many very young, often single parents, with severely disabled children, as well as very elderly patients, are desperately trying to navigate a very complex and disconnected health care system. Often these patients are seeing multiple health care providers at the same time, but each without any communication with one another, or awareness of what treatments the other had prescribed or recommended.
One young mother I worked with had a severely disabled child. She came to our office beside herself with guilt for not being able to afford all of the drugs her daughter had been prescribed. I’ll never forget her gratitude when, by fostering communication among her daughter’s multiple providers, we determined not only did she not need the additional drugs, but taking all of them together may very likely have killed her.”
Why did you join ASPPS?
“Through my work as an associate director of medical/health administration for the University of Florida Health Science Center since 2002, I witnessed the impact of increasing financial pressures. I started asking myself: how do we shift the focus to be on health care quality and patient safety first? In seeking to answer this question, I came to learn of ASPPS and welcomed the opportunity to be a part of an organization full of like-minded individuals, many of them clinicians, and with the same important focus on patient safety.
The goal of becoming a Certified Professional in Patient Safety was an opportunity to become much more knowledgeable in the actual how of patient safety by immersing myself in understanding the clinical side of health care operations and patient safety activities that help clinicians and patients alike in achieving higher quality health care.”
How does your law firm help clinicians and patients?
“My role at Dell Graham as a legal advocate and risk manager for clinicians and others in the health care industry is to proactively address, standardize, and simplify the business and regulatory side of health care so that they can give their 100% to providing high quality health care. The work I have the opportunity to be involved in now is the most fulfilling of my professional career.”
You said that clinicians are at risk due to a broken health care system. In your opinion, what improvements should be made to make the system better for everyone?
“Two things are crucial for improvement. The first is better coordination and communication among all the fragmented pieces. The second is developing and fostering a just culture within organizations where there is no finger-pointing, shaming, or disproportionate disciplinary actions. This is the key to an environment where every medical error becomes an opportunity to learn and improve upon the quality of health care within the system.”
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Joanna Carmona is communications coordinator at the National Patient Safety Foundation. Contact her at email@example.com.