"But a lot of the feedback we got from the physicians was, 'Well, I can give them their prescriptions, but I really don't have time to talk to them.' Like, that's not my job, or it's really not that important.
"And what the FDA did is recognize that if we are going to have patient-centered care, we should not throw away this valuable information that they have…that we've been throwing vast amounts of away by not engaging them. Now we're actually putting structures in place to make that happen."
At Johns Hopkins, inpatients are already urged to report anything they see that doesn't look right, or which they think may be a medical error. In a video that's shown in a loop on the hospital system's TVs to every new patient, Pronovost says in so many words:
Welcome to Johns Hopkins. Your safety is our top priority. And here are things you can watch out for, like if you see someone not washing their hands, we want to know. And here are ways you can let us know.
Pronovost would like to see direct patient and consumer reporting go even further, perhaps with special websites where patients could log in their experiences, or tell their stories. "The public could say 'I was harmed here, in a nursing home, or there, at the hospital' "and that maybe that would make hospitals and doctors take patient safety more seriously than they do today.
Imagine then, he says, "you'd see summary data, 30,000 people harmed today from healthcare, or 40,000. It would be hard for policymakers, the public, and providers not to say, OK. Enough. Now we have to do something about this."