“At NPSF and in the field of patient safety, there has been much progress this year, but there remains much work to be done. We continue to pursue our vision of creating a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm.”
By Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS
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NPSF began 2014 with a new vision statement, as well as a revitalized mission and goals. With only weeks remaining in the year, it is a good time to reflect on the progress we have made.
The Foundation’s three-year strategic plan focuses on four areas: 1) engage with patients, families, and communities to identify and create strategies and disseminate tools to improve patient safety; (2) engage the health care community through education, shared learning, and professional advancement; (3) partner with key stakeholders to identify and evaluate safety issues requiring best practices, solutions, or business innovation; and (4) guide health care leaders and policy makers to advance patient safety in the evolving market.
For Patient Safety Awareness Week in March, we forged new alliances that allowed us to broaden the reach of this annual campaign. With a focus on diagnostic error, NPSF worked with the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) and other partners to create and disseminate educational resources for hospitals, health professional, and health consumers. Thanks to the generosity of the Cautious Patient Foundation, NPSF and SIDM developed a webcast series free to all, including one session devoted to the patient’s perspective. We also shared patient narratives and published a series of blog posts written by members of the Partnership for Patients Patient and Family Engagement Network.
Also in March, the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute issued a report identifying specific action items for health leaders, clinicians, and policy makers to pursue in making patient and family engagement a core value in the provision of health care. NPSF held a webcast about the report, and we partnered with other entities (IHI, the Partnership for Patients) on programs focused on report’s content. If you missed these programs, you can find the replays on our website.
Patient and family engagement continued to be a major issue at the 16th Annual NPSF Patient Safety Congress in May with a full-day session and a breakout track devoted to exploring what works and how patients and families can partner with the clinicians on their team. Also at Congress, Standard Register Healthcare, in partnership with the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute, conferred the inaugural John Q. Sherman Awards for Excellence in Patient Engagement. Four keynote sessions covered a diverse range of topics, from artist-turned-advocate, to the top research papers of the past year, to burnout among health care workers and how to avoid it, and the prickly issue of accountability. If you have not had a chance to view the video of the Bob Wachter-Gregg Meyer debate, I hope you can make some time to do so. The overwhelming majority of Congress attendees polled at the event favored some level of personal accountability for repeated or careless violations of patient safety practices.
The NPSF Congress also addressed our goal 4, with a day-long session for leaders and policy makers on the issue of keeping quality and safety front and center in an environment where so much emphasis is being placed on the costs of care. Download the Executive Summary of this session to learn more about the proceedings.
In the realm of professional advancement, NPSF enlisted a number of experts to help develop a review course for professionals planning to take the Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS) examination. The course, offered on site at the 2014 NPSF Congress, was such a success, the content was offered as a webinar in October. Another review course is planned to be held on site at the 2015 Congress in Austin. More than 600 professionals have achieved certification since it was introduced in 2012, with roughly 250 this year alone thus far.
In July, NPSF began a new affiliation with BMJ Quality & Safety, recognizing the international, peer-reviewed journal as an official publication of NPSF. Members of the American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety (ASPPS) receive complimentary online access to the journal as a benefit of membership, while organizational members of the NPSF Stand Up for Patient Safety program may subscribe to the journal at a reduced rate. I am pleased to report that NPSF membership continues to grow; nearly 1,000 individuals joined ASPPS this year, joining a community of health care professionals, students, and patient advocates.
The highlight of the Foundation’s fall activities was the 7th annual NPSF Lucian Leape Institute Forum & Gala. The afternoon program featured an interactive session followed by breakouts on patient engagement, workforce safety, and the future of patient safety. Dr. Bob Wachter gave a revelatory talk about the hazards of health IT, the subject of his forthcoming book. If you were not able to attend this year, you can view the keynote address on our website.
NPSF also unveiled its new website in October, allowing for improved communications with members and greater functionality. I hope you’ve had a chance to explore the content and participate in the online forums.
In the policy realm, I was honored to be among the witnesses invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, Subcommittee on Primary Care and Aging, which held a hearing on medical error in July. Led by Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, the subcommittee heard from a panel of patient safety leaders and advocates who made recommendations for how the federal government can contribute to advancing health care safety. You can watch a replay of the hearing or download the testimony of each witness on the subcommittee’s website.
NPSF has also had a seat at the table on the important issue of health information technology (HIT), participating on the ONC’s Health IT Policy Committee Safety Task Force, ONC’s HIT Implementation, Usability and Safety Workgroup, and the AMIA EHR 2020 task force, all of which are working to reduce safety risks and optimize the benefits of electronic health records. In addition, beginning this month, I am representing NPSF on the NQF Prioritization and Identification of Health IT Patient Safety Measures Expert Panel that is working to improve measurement of HIT-related safety events.
Looking forward, the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute will soon publish a report on transparency in health care as a catalyst to improving safety. Led by Drs. Bob Wachter and Gary Kaplan, this project brought together two expert roundtables to develop recommendations for making transparency a reality in health care. Stay tuned to the NPSF website for news of this report’s release and a related webinar being planned. And of course, we are busy planning a great program for the NPSF Patient Safety Congress in Austin, Texas, April 29-May 1, 2015.
At NPSF and in the field of patient safety, there has been much progress this year, but there remains much work to be done. I hope you will stay in touch with NPSF as we continue to pursue our vision of creating a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm.
Best wishes for the New Year.