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Member Spotlight: Frank Khan

Posted By Joanna Carmona, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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 

Adrian White
   

Frank Khan is a member of ASPPS

 

Frank Khan, MBA, CPPS, CPHQ, HACP, LSSGB, patient safety manager, Palo Alto Medical Foundation (A Sutter Health Affiliate) 

What are the biggest challenges you face as a patient safety manager at Palo Alto Medical Foundation?

 

“One of the biggest challenges I face is the fact that I am a not a clinician. While it is not a requirement for my job, it has presented some challenges in terms of understanding various clinical processes and terminology. However, in an effort to mitigate this, I have developed strong partnerships with various providers and leaders so that we can work together in developing effective and collaborative solutions for patient safety. Without the help of the physicians, nurses, pharmacists, medical assistants, and others, I wouldn’t know where to even begin in terms of defining and developing meaningful measures for patient safety at PAMF. It’s been a wonderful partnership, and I hope to continue this legacy as I transition into my new role as a patient safety consultant for Sutter Health.”

 

Tell us why you became a member of ASPPS?

 

“I joined ASPPS in hopes of connecting with other nonclinical professionals like myself. It’s extremely important for me to connect with others who share my passion for patient safety. I feel that the more people I can connect with and learn from, the more effective I will become at leading change. I have dreams of becoming a national leader in patient safety, and I believe that I can achieve this goal through the learnings and networking opportunities afforded to me as a member of ASPPS.”  

 

What made you interested in the patient safety field?

 

“Believe it or not, I actually fell into the patient safety profession. I worked at Stanford University Medical Center in the field of Neuropsychology for 11 years, but then I decided to try something completely different and pursue an MBA. Shortly after graduating, a former business school classmate of mine reached out to me regarding a potential opportunity at her hospital. After speaking with her and the director of clinical quality improvement, interviewing, and learning more about the job, I realized that it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.  The job was for a patient safety officer role at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Cal. I absolutely loved it, and it was through this first experience as a PSO that I found my niche in health care. And the rest, as they say, is history.”  

 

In your opinion, what is the future of the patient safety field?

 

“There are a number things that I anticipate will happen in the future:

 

“One, I believe that as the patient safety field continues to grow, more people will be engaged in this work, particularly with frontline staff. They have the greatest perspectives and the best ideas, but sometimes their voices aren’t heard enough. As leaders in patient safety, we must continue to support a culture that encourages their engagement. Because in the end, their engagement will translate into providing safer care to our patients.

 

“Two, I also think that from a consumer standpoint, patient safety will become increasingly important.  Now that there is more research in this area, and that patients are utilizing social media to share their experiences, the general public will demand safer and more reliable care.

 

“Lastly, I believe more nonclinical leaders will join the patient safety movement. It’s such a rewarding and exciting profession to be in, which are elements that many professionals want out of their career. What can be intimidating, however, is the clinical aspects as I mentioned earlier. But through strong partnerships and dedication, I know that it can be done. I’d like to think that I’m living proof of that.”   

 

 
 

MOE is Palo Alto Medical     Foundation's

patient safety mascot

 

What keeps you up at night?

 

“The most worrisome to me also happens to be the most motivating. The fact that medical errors remain one of the leading causes of death in the United States is mind-boggling to me. Even in this age of technology, we are still prone to error when it comes to patient safety. To me this suggests that perhaps technology isn’t always the answer, and that there are still creative, yet simple solutions that are waiting to be discovered.

 

“I love exploring ideas with interdisciplinary groups, and figuring out simple solutions that we can try and test today. For example, as a fun and inspirational way to engage employees with our patient safety efforts, we created a patient safety mascot exclusively for use at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. We then built on the idea of using the mascot to engage staff by holding a “name the patient safety mascot” contest, where the winner earned a lunch for his or her department and a feature in the monthly newsletter.

 

“The winning entry was MOE, which stands for “Mindful of Environment.” MOE has become quite the celebrity, making cameo appearances in promotional videos and publications, as well as branding for patient safety awards and acknowledgments. One of our leaders even had MOE made as a plush toy that she keeps in her office for everyone to enjoy. MOE’s presence has truly enhanced engagement, and lends well to the culture of safety at Palo Alto Medical Foundation.”  

 

What is something unique about you?

 

“I am a retired professional salsa dancer. I used to perform, compete, and teach with a dance team in the Bay Area. While I don’t dance anymore, I stay connected with the team as they remain as some of my closest friends.”  

 

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Joanna Carmona is communications coordinator at the National Patient Safety Foundation. Contact her at jcarmona@npsf.org.

 

 

 

 

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