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Call to Action on Patient and Family Engagement in Health Care from the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute

Wednesday, March 19, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Alpert
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Report Urges Inclusion of Patients and Families in Clinical Activities, Health Care Design and Delivery, and Policy Development

Boston, MA, March 19, 2014—Enabling patients and families to be respected partners in health care—from the exam room to the policy arena—is essential if the U.S. health care system is to continue to make progress in patient safety. That is the central message of a report released today by the National Patient Safety Foundation’s Lucian Leape Institute.

Safety Is Personal: Partnering with Patients and Families for the Safest Care, advocates for patients and families to be active partners in all aspects of their care, as well as in health care design and delivery and in policy development and research efforts. The report identifies 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

Significant evidence is mounting in support of patient engagement as a vital contributing component of safe care. The report calls for targeted education and training for health care clinicians and staff to give them skills to better engage patients in decisions and management of health problems and to redesign processes and systems to facilitate patient and family partnerships.

While firmly placing the responsibility for patient safety on health care providers and organizations, the report also urges patients, families, and the public to view themselves as full and active members of the health care team.

“Many of the barriers to meaningful patient and family engagement can only be overcome if leaders and clinicians support them in becoming confident and effective partners,” said Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA. “With this report, we hope to influence health leaders and practitioners to act on the evidence and knowledge we already have.” Ms. Edgman-Levitan, a member of the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and the lead author of the report, is also executive director of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The report is the product of two roundtable meetings with representatives of patient advocacy organizations, health systems, research organizations, and industry. Personal stories of safety lapses punctuate the report and bring the issue into focus.

“There is much that we now know about the value of partnering with patients to improve care,” said Lucian Leape, MD, chairman of the Institute and a founder of the patient safety movement. “We believe the time is now for health care leaders to move this forward.”

This is the fourth in a series of reports on issues that NPSF’s Lucian Leape Institute has identified as transforming concepts to improve patient safety. The first, Unmet Needs: Teaching Physicians to Provide Safe Patient Care (2010) addresses the need for teaching quality and safety principles in medical education. In 2012, the Institute published Order from Chaos: Accelerating Care Integration, which looks at the problem of fragmented care and possible solutions. Through the Eyes of the Workforce: Creating Joy, Meaning, and Safer Health Care,released in 2013, details the profound problem of physical and psychological risks to the health care workforce. A subsequent Institute initiative will address the need for transparency in health care.

“We are grateful to those who so generously gave their time and expertise to contribute to this report,” said Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, president of the Lucian Leape Institute and of NPSF. “Immediate next steps will be to promote the implementation of these important recommendations.”

In addition to Dr. Leape, Dr. Gandhi, and Ms. Edgman-Levitan, current members of the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute include Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, assistant deputy under secretary for health quality, safety and value, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs; Janet Corrigan, PhD, MBA, distinguished fellow, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice; Gary S. Kaplan, MD, FACMPE, Chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Medical Center; Julianne Morath, RN, MS, President and CEO, Hospital Quality Institute of California; Paul O’Neill, former chairman and CEO, Alcoa, and 72nd Secretary of the US Treasury; Dennis S. O’Leary, MD, President Emeritus, The Joint Commission; and Robert M. Wachter, MD, associate chair, Department of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco.

For more information about the report or the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute, visit

The National Patient Safety Foundation’s Lucian Leape Institute sincerely thanks Standard Register Healthcare for its support of the Institute’s Roundtable on Consumer Engagement in Patient Safety.

Organizations interested in inviting speakers on this topic from the NPSF Health Care Leaders Speakers Bureau for their internal executive sessions or other meetings may contact David Coletta, senior vice president, at

About the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute

The National Patient Safety Foundation’s Lucian Leape Institute, established in 2007, is charged with defining strategic paths and calls to action for the field of patient safety, offering vision and context for the many efforts under way within health care, and providing the leverage necessary for system-level change. Its members are national thought leaders with a common interest in patient safety whose expertise and influence are brought to bear as the Institute calls for the innovation necessary to expedite the work and create significant, sustainable improvements in culture, process, and outcomes critical to safer health care.

About the National Patient Safety Foundation

The National Patient Safety Foundation’s vision is to create a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm. A central voice for patient safety since 1997, NPSF partners with patients and families, the health care community, and key stakeholders to advance patient safety and health care workforce safety and disseminate strategies to prevent harm. NPSF is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. To learn more about the Foundation’s work, visit

Contact: Patricia McTiernan
Ph: 617-391-9922617-391-9922
Cell: 617-835-3379617-835-3379

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