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
Sunil K. Sinha, MD, MBA, FACP, director, clinical quality and patient safety
ChenMed Neighborhood Medical Centers, Virginia
Why did you join the ASPPS?
“I feel that the ASPPS provides a great balance of education, training, and networking for those who have a passion for making health care safe. I have found that the number of resources and blogs available online at NPSF are helpful, especially in my current position at ChenMed.”
What are some of the unique patient safety challenges in the ambulatory setting?
“On a personal note, my father has been hospitalized four times in the past year and has had numerous visits to his PCP, specialists, urgent care facilities, and the emergency room. I find that the common gap in most of these interactions has been inadequate or missing communication between treating physicians, other health care providers, and my parents.
With health care providers rendering care for the same patients at, and from, multiple locations, real-time communication and effective handoffs become a challenge. Not having information readily available adds to the complexity and makes the delivery of care inefficient, ineffective, and possibly untimely and unsafe. At least within the four walls of a hospital, you almost always have the luxury of real-time electronic or direct communication with providers who are working in close proximity, which is not always the case in the ambulatory setting.”
You’ve been a judge for the Baldrige National Performance Excellence Award Program. Has this experience influenced you in any way?
“The last three years as a national judge has been a great learning experience. I had the opportunity to review and discuss the applications of some very high performing organizations with a panel of experts having a wealth of experience and diversity of expertise. What has been very obvious is that health care organizations performing at a very high level have a few common traits: leadership committed to safety and quality, dedicated resources made available to accomplish identified goals, and a culture conducive for high performance
What keeps you up at night?
“Although the patient safety movement has garnered much needed attention over the past decade and a half, we remain largely focused on the acute care side. Even though there has been a significant shift of focus to prevention and management of care on the ambulatory side, there is much that can and needs to be done.”
What is something most people don’t know about you?
“My desire to become a physician came at the age of seven, during a summer vacation visit to my grandparents in rural India. One of their tenants was a physician who had the ‘magical touch’ of bringing people back to life without the aid of a hospital. What I learned much later was that he was ‘magically resuscitating’ villagers who were extremely dehydrated with a basic combination of fluids and antibiotics. Many years later I still marvel at the simplicity and power of health care at the bedside.”
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Joanna Carmona is communications coordinator at the National Patient Safety Foundation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.