Senate Holds Hearing on Need to Improve Patient Safety, Reduce Harm, Solutions Proposed

July 18, 2014    |   By: Calevir

On July 17, a Subcommittee of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, held a hearing “More than 1,000 Preventable Deaths a Day is Too Many: The Need to Improve Patient Safety”; a topic near and dear to the heart of the Center for Patient Safety.

National patient safety experts testified before the subcommittee highlighting the need for increased attention on patient safety and the need to reduce patient harm. Highlights of testimony provided by these experts included updated statistics on preventable deaths being as high as 400,000 annually and a call for a focus on the science of safety, improving the safety culture, improving measurement, utilizing health information technology to link systems and providing more information to the public about quality and safety to make health care decisions.   Possible solutions offered by these experts include a greater role for the government such as expanding the role of the CDC to receive and report data, developing a National Patient Safety Board or expanding roles of The Joint Commission and CMS to increase health care oversight, enhancing information technology, increasing transparency and aligning leadership incentives focused on quality and safety.

Many of the topics are being addressed through the Center’s work:  The importance of assessing and improving the safety culture; collecting adverse event, near miss and unsafe conditions to identify what medical errors occur, evaluate why they occur and identify solutions to prevent harm; encouraging discussions across providers on medical error, harm and prevention to share learning and training and supporting evidence based practices to improve safety culture and reduce healthcare-acquired infections through our work in collaboration with the Missouri Hospital Association.

A Webcast of the hearing is available at


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The Center for Patient Safety believes that collaboration and sharing are the best ways to drive improvement. We strive to provide the right solutions and resources to improve healthcare safety and quality.