The November issue of Health Affairs highlights a number of articles and studies focused on opportunities to improve patient safety, including how hospital work environments can affect outcomes and how patient experiences can help reduce diagnostic errors.
 
“Making sure that patients get accurate, timely diagnoses that are also communicated to them in a way that they can understand is one of the health care system’s most urgent challenges,” Rear Adm. Jeffrey Brady, M.D., director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, said today at a briefing in Washington, D.C.
 
The briefing included presentations from a number of authors whose studies appear in the November issue. Pascale Carayon, a professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Healthcare Systems Engineering, discussed how the discipline of human factors and systems engineering is increasingly being applied to improve systems to advance safety.
 
In addition, experts discussed how hospital and health system leaders can better communicate with patients following adverse medical events and reduce post-operative complications and mortality often by moving interventions upstream.
 
“I’m constantly reminded that patient safety is a team sport,” Brady said. “There are very few projects where one person or one organization can do it alone. And it takes all of us – federal leaders, researchers, health system CEOs, front line physicians and nurses, and again, most importantly, patients and families – to help ensure that patients aren’t harmed during the course of their care.”

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