'Next Leaps in Patient Safety’
Communication. Transparency. Respect. Culture.
In her closing notes, Leah Binder,The Leapfrog Group CEO, summarized her takeaways from the Patient Safety Annual Meeting:
Protocols are important, but what we talked about the entire day wasn't protocols. It was softer things: communication, transparency, respect, culture.
The way we deal with each other is what's important.
The ability to talk to each other and go through difficult situations together could impact patient safety the most.
We couldn't agree more.
4 key takeaways from the annual meeting:
1. "Patient safety is back at the top of the agenda", with renewed interest at the national level. Much of this is thanks to the PCAST report to President Joe Biden submitted in September this year, which highlighted the urgency of the patient safety issue. One of every four Americans that walk into a hospital will experience a preventable event. With over 200,000 lives lost because of medical errors in the US each year, 3,000,000 globally, healthcare is defined as a dangerous activity.... more than chartered flights... more than driving... more than mountain climbing!
2. Go for "micro-fixing". Thinking about improving patient safety can be overwhelming. A broken system, misaligned incentives, endless challenges. But as Joe Kiani, the CEO of Masimo Corporation and a key advisor to President Biden on patient safety, said in his opening keynote: it could be a good idea to focus on "Micro-fixing" - things that we can actually change. The same sentiment was expressed in the breakout sessions, when hospital quality professionals wrote suggestions: "don't try to boil the ocean", "go for low hanging fruit", "find the root cause of issues and fix the top ones".
3. Transparency came up in almost every session. We have to stop walling the data. We need to stop regulation from being an automatic blocker of patient safety innovation. One of the speakers talked about how it was impossible to get information to study the impact of operating room relative humidity on patient outcomes because the records "could not be shared", and what she needed to go through to get the data.
4. Need more technology in the patient safety space. The gap came up in multiple sessions, and also in conversations throughout the day. There are not enough software players in patient safety, and most of the solutions are in the infection prevention space (sanitizing, hand washing solutions etc.). While working on prevention of hospital acquired infections (HAI) is critical, there's so much more that can be done, and it can be low cost and scalable. In the interactive session on the future of patient safety, we talked about keeping the clinicians focused on the patient, getting rid of non-value-adding activities (mainly documentation), avoiding miscommunications between clinicians and patients - and among clinicians, helping patients and caregivers ask the right questions. AI was repeatedly mentioned as a source of potential future improvements, but the lack of relevant vendor-partners and expertise in the space was very apparent.
It was wonderful to be in a room with hundreds of people who deeply care about patient safety and fight for it daily. Hearing their stories and vision is a great source of inspiration to continue investing in technologies and tools to make their job and the job of clinicians easier - and make healthcare safer for everyone.
The Leapfrog Group - the voice of patient safety.
The Leapfrog Group is a non-profit that has been around for 20 years. It created a hospital safety grade of “A” to “F” to rate how well US hospitals protect patients from errors, accidents, injuries and infections. Over 2,700 hospitals are issued a safety grade twice every year. You can read more about the Leapfrog Group hospital rating here.
At the Leapfrog Group annual meeting, quality and safety officers from hospitals and ASCs across the nation met to discuss the latest trends in patient safety, and learn from the achievements of other institutions. The meeting was followed by an award dinner, celebrating the excellence of the highest rated institutions.
This year, the Steven Schroeder Award for outstanding healthcare CEO went to Charles Holland, the CEO of St. Bernard Hospital, an independent safety-net hospital on Chicago’s South Side. Through two years of complete dedication to patient safety, the hospital moved from an "F" to an "A" on the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. Read more in this Becker's Hospital Review article.