Offering the latest news in health care quality and safety, the ISQua blog also features guest posts from the best and brightest in the industry.

By Peter Lachman Thursday. Jan 31, 2019

Aiming for Zero

We are now reaching a critical stage in the delivery of healthcare. Patient Safety is now a central component of the delivery of healthcare – and we now need to set ambitious goals to eliminate harm. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Worldwide initiatives have had variable success mainly because it is difficult to achieve standardisation without a change in the way we work. Patient safety needs to become a social movement where there is a groundswell of change and eventually safety becomes the way we do work.

The Patient Safety Movement based in California has been around for the past 7 years and has ambitious aims – reaching zero preventable deaths in hospital by 2020 or 0X2020.

Aiming for zero is a laudable aim and I was fortunate to be at their recent summit in Huntington Beach last week where enthusiasts came together to hear commitments to achieve this goal. The movement is grounded in testimony and stories, those of providers who describe their safety journey, and more importantly, from patients who have experienced harm themselves or to one of their family members, and who want to help us improve by learning from their experience.

This creates a powerful coalition as the stories from parents, husbands, wives and other family members creates the momentum to achieve the goal. There were numerous panels about transparency, creativity in change, and the legal issues involved in reaching for the change (the panel I was part of), as well as state-of-the-art overviews which called for us to really examine the way we design and then deliver care. A fascinating debate on the role of the media to help to make the case for safety in a responsible way helped frame the debate for next moves to transparency.

This message was emphasised by President Bill Clinton in his closing keynote address which asked us to made sure that we focus on all involved, as people who need to work together to make a difference.

The key positives are that they have identified key interventions to reach the goal

This is the challenge that we face – we know what to do but within the complex health systems we have developed with a lack of integration and often delivered in silos, it is difficult to implement the changes in a sustainable way. Implementation and improvement methodology can take these interventions to the next level and if we have a massive growth in the social movement perhaps we will reach the aims sooner than later.

As Jack Gentry a patient survivor of harm who was on the panel I was on said – “we just cannot wait – we must aim for Zero now”. Aim high is the overall message – we know WHY we must aim for Zero, we know WHAT to do it is the HOW that is the challenge.

ISQua CEO, Dr Peter Lachman was a panelist on Hospital Transparency From a Legal Perspective at the 7th Annual World Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit #WPSSTS on 18th January 2019.


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