Letter from the Chairman, November 2019

Dear PatientAiders,

We’re just back from the first Africa Patient Safety Initiative, held in Cape Town October 24 – 25. After the two-day forum, co-convened with PSMF, WHO, ISQua and IHI, I believe more strongly than ever that this is our moment to achieve ZERO preventable deaths. More than 100 people from 38 nations attended the Initiative to discuss global patient safety concerns and we now have a path set before us.

In Africa, as in most of the world, transparency remains a challenge. As we plan for ZERO, we must begin by replacing cultures of blame and establish just cultures of safety, creating environments in which we communicate openly about medical errors, with both staff and patients. If we can’t openly discuss errors and gaps in current processes, we can’t develop solutions to keep patients from harm. We know that sharing stories publicly, both good and bad, results in more rapid improvements.

We can bring about massive change with “microfixes.”  If we all do what we can with our circle of influence to eliminate preventable deaths, we will not only likely achieve zero preventable deaths, but we will have a just and learning culture.

There was also Informa’s Patient Safety Conference in Dubai, in October. More than 1,000 delegates and “patient safety soldiers” from 60 countries came to review the latest evidence-based practices to ensure “a holistic approach to do no harm.” Our incoming PSMF Chairman of the Board, Dr. Michael Ramsey, was on hand to deliver his keynote focused on “Making hospitals safe havens rather than danger zones.” And, at the World Health Summit held in Berlin in October, PSMF Board member and Regional Network Chair in Mexico, Dr. Javier Davila, shared an overview of PSMF, our mission to achieve ZERO by providing free APSS to hospitals around the world, and the need to continue to “spread the word of safety.”

We’re looking forward to our 2020 World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, March 5 – 7, in Huntington Beach, CA. I want to recognize and thank our partner organizations helping us to put on this important event: the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the European Society of Anaesthesiology. For the first time, this year’s Summit includes a Pre-Summit Symposium on March 5. The Symposium is an opportunity for you to share the important work you’ve done and, most importantly, the lessons you learned that can help others. Please submit abstracts by November 22, 2019 and be part of the solution to keeping patients safe.  We will also show a new documentary on the evening of March 6th that is sure to inspire and motivate us with our work.

In this Issue

This month, we shine our Spotlight on Dignity Health, one of the recent PSMF 5-Star Hospital awardees that have implemented all of our 40 APSS, for the great work they’ve done in implementing CANDOR and making open communication with patients and families a priority across its hospital system. Barbara Pelletreau, Senior Vice President, Patient Safety provides insights into how her team has been successful in improving patient and family communication.

A Time to Give Thanks

We’ll soon be heading into the holiday season, a time to reflect and be thankful for all you’ve achieved and the lives you’ve impacted. At PSMF, we’re thankful to all of our partners who work so diligently (and courageously) to promote patient safety, to the patients and family members that share their stories and help us remember what it means to keep patients safe, and to the doctors and nurses who provide outstanding care to patients. This is also a time to give, to make a difference by advancing patient safety in the hospital, medical technology company where you work, or where you spend time as a patient or family member. Together, we can achieve ZERO.

Joe Kiani