Organizations Urge Addressing Patient and Workforce Safety From Total Systems Approach


According to a May 17 press release, representatives from the Boston, Mass.-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Rockville, Md.-based Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) discussed the importance of national level coordination to address patient and workforce safety across the continuum of care at the IHI Patient Safety Congress. The three member organizations are part of the IHI-convened National Steering Committee for Patient Safety (NSC). The NSC urged for immediate action to address safety from a total systems approach and appealed to leaders to adopt safety as a core value and promote collective action to sustain this value.

The release states that “These recommendations are part of the Declaration to Advance Patient Safety, which was introduced during the opening keynote address at the IHI Patient Safety Congress taking place through May 18 in Dallas, Texas and online as a virtual experience. This annual gathering brings together hundreds of diverse stakeholders who are passionate about providing safer care for patients in all care settings.”

That said, “As stated in the Safety Declaration, ‘The return to a pre-pandemic status quo state of safety is insufficient for ensuring safe, reliable, and equitable care for every person. Rather, our recovery trajectory requires long-term, intensive focus to create, rebuild, and sustain the foundations for safe care.’”

Twenty-seven organizations that make up the NSC developed “Safer Together: A National Plan to Advance Patient Safety” in 2020. The plan provides guidance for leaders to assess and strengthen their systems approach to safety in four areas including culture, leadership, and governance; patient and family engagement; workforce safety; and learning systems.

The release adds that “To meaningfully reset and advance safe, reliable, and equitable care and to strengthen the resilience of systems, the National Steering Committee urges health care leaders to:

  1. Review the recommendations and tactics of Safer Together: A National Action to Advance Patient Safety.
  2. Identify a senior sponsor and core team charged with deploying the Self-Assessment Tool, a companion resource to the National Action Plan, to evaluate their organization’s current state across each of the foundational areas.
  3. Establish and enact strategies, tactics, and measurement and improvement plans to meaningfully fortify and sustain their organization’s performance in each of the four foundational areas by leveraging the Implementation Resource Guide, a companion resource to the National Action Plan.”

Patricia A. McGaffigan, R.N., IHI vice president, was quoted in the release saying that “There is a critical need for healthcare leaders to take urgent action to create, rebuild, and sustain the foundations for safe care to address longstanding challenges and troubling setbacks in patient and workforce safety during the pandemic. The National Action Plan provides leaders with the tools to assess the current state of their organization’s foundational safety practices and offers actionable solutions for a clear path forward.”

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