Patient Safety Movement Announces Progress Toward Goal, Change in Leadership

By Jay Kumar

Patient Safety Movement (PSM) has made major progress toward its goal of zero preventable deaths worldwide by 2020, even though it likely won’t achieve that goal, PSM founder and CEO Joe Kiani told attendees Friday at the group’s 7th annual World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit in Huntington Beach, California.

That said, PSM plans to continue to aggressively pursue its efforts to reduce and eliminate medical errors through aligning with healthcare leaders, doctors and nurses, patients and families, politicians and medical technology companies.

“Our goal of zero preventable deaths by 2020 is daunting,” Kiani said. “If we’re not going to get to zero, we at least have to give it our all. I’m going to give it my all. We have to…Don’t let your miracle of healing get hijacked by some medical error.”

Kiani announced that he is stepping down as PSM’s leader, with David Mayer, MD, vice president of quality and safety for MedStar Health and executive director of the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, taking over as CEO effective immediately. In addition, Michael A.E. Ramsay, chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management at Baylor University, will be the incoming chairman of the PSM Foundation board. Kiani, who is found and CEO of medical technology firm Masimo Corporation, said he will remain active in the group by serving on the board.

“I’m not quitting, I’m not leaving,” he said. “This is about the mission. I’m going to help you like the two of you helped me.”

Ramsay lauded Kiani’s efforts and urged attendees to keep moving forward. “For every life that’s lost, there’s probably 1,000 patients that have avoided harm,” he said. While PSM has been successful in raising awareness and spreading education, “we have a lot more to do.”

Asked if there will be a new goal after 2020, Ramsay noted that PSM initially began as a U.S.-focused effort, and now it has gone global. Kiani said the goal could be revised to zero deaths by 2025 or 2030, but nothing official was announced.

Mayer noted that PSM has created urgency in the healthcare industry to improve processes. Another big step forward was bringing patients and families into the effort. “It’s about the transparency,” he said. “It’s about learning from the event.”

“We’ve got to make our hospitals safe,” Ramsay added. “Families want to get to the safe place, and that’s home, not the hospital.”

What’s also necessary is to improve education in medical and nursing schools, Mayer said.

One of PSM’s major efforts is to create a series of 18 Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS) that it has encouraged healthcare organizations to implement as they work to reduce preventable patient harm.

“We need to treat every death as a plane crash that you learn from instead of a car crash, where you say that happens,” Kiani said.

Even as he discussed the progress made by PSM over the last several years, Kiani voiced frustration at the apathy he still finds in the healthcare industry when it comes to making radical changes to reach the group’s goal of zero preventable deaths.

“One life is one too many that we lose, and we’re losing millions a year,” he said. “How can anyone not be willing to do anything and everything to stop reckless care?”