New Patient Safety Panel Unveils Areas of Focus

As it works to develop a national plan of action to address preventable medical harm, the new National Steering Committee for Patient Safety has outlined its four areas of focus. Convened by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) with representatives from many organizations, the committee met at the IHI/NPSF Patient Safety Congress in Boston in late May.

Co-chair Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, the IHI’s chief clinical and safety officer, detailed the committee’s next steps in an IHI blog post last week. The four main focus areas are culture and leadership, patient and family engagement, workforce safety, and learning systems.

“There have been numerous collaborative efforts around patient safety in the past, and many have been very successful,” Gandhi wrote. “Most of those efforts were around specific projects—for example, reducing readmissions, reducing infections. By focusing on foundational concepts, we hope that this effort will be able to accelerate progress beyond any specific issue to impact all safety work.”

The goal of the committee is to provide a coordinated response from the healthcare and public health sectors to reduce medical harm. The committee is creating a national action plan, which it hopes to implement by the start of next year. The group will meet quarterly, with subcommittees to work on the focus areas.

The committee includes representatives from the American Hospital Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CMS, The Joint Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Food and Drug Administration.