Letter from the Chairman, October 2020

Dear Readers,

September was a very active month for the Patient Safety Movement Foundation!

The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated the 2nd Annual World Patient Safety Day on September 17th, 2020.  World Patient Safety Day is celebrated each year on September 17 to bring global attention to the importance of healthcare safety.

This year, we hosted a four-hour virtual event as part of our #uniteforsafecare public awareness campaign to ensure patient and health worker safety around the world. We organized the event to improve public awareness and unite patients, advocates, health workers, and leaders globally. Nearly 7,000 people attended this virtual event live, which can still be viewed here. The program featured diverse presenters, including keynote speeches from Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, who introduced the event; and 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, who provided closing remarks.  In between, we heard from patients and their families, entertainers, and politicians, including Jeremy Hunt from the UK, and a wealth of celebrities.

Thank you to all the volunteers, speakers, and supporters who made this event a success. The #uniteforsafecare campaign will live on as a resource for public awareness of our patient and health worker safety issues globally.

We have also been raising patient safety awareness via other events over the past month. Our CEO, David Mayer, has been walking across America to raise attention to healthcare safety for both patients and caregivers. You can read about his travels, and those of many of our patient safety advocates who have walked with him for patient safety, on Twitter @WalkforPtSafety. David has been interviewed by over 70 television stations, newspapers, and radio stations over the course of his journey.

The Patient Safety Movement also recently partnered with the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) to provide several hours of educational content for the NAHQ NEXT conference held September 14th-16th, 2020.  Because of COVID-19 concerns, this was a virtual event, which enabled hundreds more people to join the audience.  We helped educate people about important topics in healthcare quality and safety.

On September 14th, we joined the Mexican Academy of Surgery for an invited panel discussion on “Seguridad del Paciente” (“Patient Safety”).  We were joined by our Board members Dr. Javier Davila Torres and Dra. Diane Perez.

Finally, we were invited to talk and join a panel at the recent Evidence Based Perioperative Medicine Meeting (EBPOM), another all-virtual event with over 3,000 registrants, for its Chicago Masters Course 2020.

So despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not gone away as we had all hoped, we at the PSMF have been able to communicate and reach greater audiences than we could in person. Perhaps this is a silver lining to this terrible disease that we all hope and pray will be overcome soon. 

Finally, while we find our way to the control of the pandemic, do not forget the lives that have been tragically lost:

Keep in mind that health workers are not to blame; the system is to blame.

Minority communities must be cognizant of the social disparities in patient care.

Double-check everything. 

Recognize that the system isn’t perfect.

Mike Ramsay, M.D.
Chairman, Patient Safety Movement Foundation
Past-President, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, Dallas, TX