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Patient Safety Needs a Rescue

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, May 26, 2011

Lack of consensus is a "sad statement" that reflects potential disorganization in leadership oversight of patient safety, says Vincent. A hospital system can't afford to have a "chief executive who doesn't want to be bothered" with specifics involving patient safety issues," she says.


Intelligence Report: The Drive to Patient Safety: Free Download.


Comments from healthleaders reflect their feelings about the necessity of change and commitment to patient safety as a priority. "We approach it as an area that we do well in, but feel that we can be more effective," says a hospital CEO. Says another: "Patient safety is inextricably linked or tied to the clinical care process, so if patient care isn't the No. 1 financial priority, then the facility is in the wrong business."

The survey shows the manner of communication among staff, physicians and nurses should definitely be improved, McKenna says, "whether it's within a leadership structure on the C-suite level or between physicians and nurses in a hospital room because communication and quality go hand in hand."


Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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1 comments on "Patient Safety Needs a Rescue"


Phyllis Kritek, RN, PhD (5/27/2011 at 9:48 AM)
Since the late 80s we have had a steadily expanding data set that documents patient safety is shaped by our ability as health care providers to collaborate. It has seemed to me that we have elected to use the euphemism of "communication" to avoid the evidence that our failure to collaborate and our tendency to avoid or deny conflict is jeopardizing patient safety. We have elected to tinker with what I call the "low hanging fruit" of patient safety in an effort to skirt the elephant in the room: we sustain our dysfunctional relationships in spite of the evidence that they harm patients. I would observe that recommending that we "stop blaming poor communication and leadership structures and get to work laying out a strategy to secure patient safety" is a continuation of this same avoidance pattern in what has now become a meme in health care. If poor communication and leadership structures are putting our patients at risk, wouldn't the obvious recommendation be that we honestly confront our communication patterns and our problematic leadership structures and FIX THEM? Isn't that the work we need to do and the strategy we have not yet crafted.