Letter from the Chairman, May 2020
Have we passed the peak of COVID-19 infections? It certainly looks like many nations around the world, and many states here in the US, are turning a corner in their efforts against the novel coronavirus. So, is the worst behind us, or will we see a resurgence as we let the constraints loosen?
As we move through this impactful episode in the life and death of so many of the world’s inhabitants, we are in a continual state of learning. What lessons have we learned? Maybe what we are still learning is that this is not over yet.
There will be many lessons to take away from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps the most important will be that “no man is an island.” When a pandemic hits, we are all in it together. Our collective survival depends on our ability to work together to save ourselves, our loved ones, and the world.
At the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, we are focused on reducing medical errors and saving the lives of patients. The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for all of us at PSMF as well as the international community. Suddenly, we are all patients — health care workers, politicians, entertainers, scientists, families, and entrepreneurs alike. The core principles that guide PSMF — safety, transparency, and communication — could not be more important for the healthcare community right now.
Let us look closely at some of the changes that took place, and see if we can apply them to improve safety in our health care systems. So far, we know that transparency and collaboration have been foundational aspects of our success dealing with the virus. Scientists, working together, reported early and often on their discoveries and outcomes of trials. They shared data and information. There was openness, not secrecy, and collaboration where safety — everyone’s safety — was concerned.
The whole world is working together in a team effort — reporting their results, their mortality, their incidence of disease, their short falls, their successes, and their failures. The only way we could beat this disease, and the next one, and reduce morbidity and mortality was by openness, transparency, and teamwork.
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought us together as one world: sharing information, treatments, methodology, and equipment for the benefit and safety of our patients, our health care workers, our families, and our survival.
We have learned so much! The core values of the PSMF are the right ones to bring safety to our patients and to all who work in health care. We now need the rest of the world team, that has just been mobilized, to continue the good work to help us improve the healthcare system. We are all patients!
Please Stay Safe!
Mike Ramsay, M.D.
Chairman, Patient Safety Movement Foundation
President, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, Dallas, TX