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Patient Safety Needs a Rescue



Patient safety currently resides at the intersection of good intentions and astonishingly dismal results. Healthcare leaders need to stop blaming poor communication and leadership structures and get to work laying out a strategy to secure patient safety.



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.