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New Society focuses on patient safety
The American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety (ASPPS) is marking its first anniversary this year as a multidisciplinary group committed to advancing patient safety best practices.

The society was formed last year by the National Patient Safety Foundation. “ASPPS was created as a ‘home’ for what had previously been a fragmented community,” says Diane Pinakiewicz, president of NPSF and of ASPPS. “In unifying the broad base of people working to improve healthcare safety, our goal has been to promote consistency and standard practices to help healthcare professionals at all levels pursue the patient safety agenda.”

Patient safety today involves representatives of nursing, medicine, environmental services, pharmacy, and other areas, none more important than the leadership team. Some organizations have blended the roles of the patient safety officer and the risk manager into one department to raise awareness of medical errors and their commitment to transparency.

“It's a transition from the traditional risk management model, which is to protect the organization. These goals are not mutually exclusive, but they are often perceived to be in conflict. And that's the barrier you have to get over and believe that in focusing on the patient, you are also protecting the organization,” Jana Deen, vice president and patient safety officer at Catholic Health Partners in Cincinnati, commented to Business Insurance.

The biggest obstacle to transparency is the fear of being sued. To provide practical guidance to hospitals seeking to adopt the new model, the IHI issued Respectful Management of Serious Clinical Adverse Events, a white paper the IHI says is in use around the world.

The document is available for free at www.ihi.org. It is a step-by-step guide to help healthcare executives develop their own plans for responding to a crisis involving a medical error with “empathy, honesty and urgency,” according to IHI.