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Let patients serve on hospital boards, committees
Some patients who lost loved ones to medical errors are helping hospitals improve their care and image by serving on safety committees and sharing their views of health care.

“When the voice of those we're talking about is in the room, everything gets better. We get focused. Nonsense decreases, and knowledge comes into the room. They know things that clinicians don't know," former CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, MD, is quoted in a recent issue of Patient Safety Monitor.

"For every single hospital in the nation, this is the time to have patients and families in your governance. It's time to have them on your board. If that is done, the will and knowledge will rise, and speed and accomplishment will increase," he says.

One hospital which encourages people from the community to serve on its safety committee prepares them with the agenda in an hour-long pre-meeting. It helps explain any technical or medical issues so when they attend the meeting, they feel confident enough to join in the conversation.