The Patient Safety Movement Foundation thanks the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for releasing its report to Congress on patient safety. In December 2014, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) requested that GAO study the implementation of evidence-based patient safety practices in hospitals and asked the GAO to identify best practices. The GAO report addresses three questions:
1. What key factors affect selected hospitals’ implementation of evidence-based patient safety practices and what are their reported effects on adverse events, including related costs?
2. What types of programs do payers use to promote hospital patient safety and what are their reported effects on adverse events, including related costs?
3. What gaps, if any, do patient safety researchers and other experts report in the available information related to patient safety practices?
The report highlights the difficulty that hospitals have in obtaining data to identify: adverse events within their institutions, existing best practices, priorities for patient safety practices, and how to ensure consistency in staff compliance with those practices. The report also examines six payer organizations and their efforts to reduce preventable deaths and unnecessary medical expenditures through a combination of reimbursement and non-financial support to help hospitals improve patient safety.
“This report is an excellent beginning to a better understanding of the challenges our hospitals face to eliminate preventable deaths. The number of preventable deaths in hospitals has increased over the past decade. To reverse this heart-breaking trend, we need to better align incentives and reporting requirements so that hospitals can learn faster and implement better processes to provide safe and dignified care,” said Patient Safety Movement Founder Joe Kiani.
The Patient Safety Movement, through its interdisciplinary workgroups, has developed twelve Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS), which are rapidly-implementable best practices that will allow hospitals to meaningfully address the leading causes of preventable death.
“We have collaborated with leaders from the healthcare, medical technology, academic, patient advocacy, and public policy communities to develop our APSS that will solve the exact problems that this GAO report is highlighting. This issue is not the absence of solutions, but a lack of transparency and measurement as to where the most pervasive problems in hospitals lie. Sunlight is the best antiseptic; I hope that Congress will use this report as a clear sign that we need more transparency in healthcare, otherwise we are going to continue to fund our ignorance with taxpayer dollars and human lives. Last month, Senator Whitehouse introduced the Patient Safety Improvement Act of 2016 [S. 2467], which is a great step towards creating the transparency needed to improve patient safety,” Kiani continued. “I hope that the Senate will include the bill in the legislative hearings it is holding over the next few months.”
Stakeholders choose new APSS topics at the Patient Safety Movement’s Midyear Planning Meeting. The meeting is open to all interested parties and is a place for patient safety leaders to convene and discuss the leading causes of preventable death and suggest the solutions that prevent them. Planning Meeting participants vote on proposed topics, and workgroups then develop new APSS to be introduced at the annual World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit. To date, more than 1,600 domestic and international hospitals have committed to implementing one or more of these APSS.
The 2016 Midyear Planning Meeting will be co-convened with the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute on Friday, June 10, 2016, in Falls Church, VA. For more information about the 2016 Midyear Planning Meeting or the organizations that have provided commitments or pledges, please visit https://psmf.org.