As part of the 2014 Patient Safety Awareness Week celebrations, the Edward P. Lawrence Center for Quality and Safety hosted a Quality and Safety Forum on March 6 featuring a presentation entitled, "Diagnostic Error, a Safety Risk with Promising New Solutions."
Two well-known leaders in the field of Patient Safety presented a comprehensive discussion on Diagnostic Error and the pitfalls that generate it as well as some of the techniques that can prevent it.
Dr. Tejal Gandhi, President of the National Patient Safety Foundation and Dr. Gordon Schiff, Associate Director of the Center for Patient Research and Practice at Brigham and Woman's Hospital were the presenters.
Dr Gandhi started the presentation by talking about the frequency of medical errors and how they can affect the patient's care. She reviewed where diagnoses are missed (everywhere!) and some of the most common errors that generate claims. Both she and Dr. Schiff talked about what providers can do to help minimize diagnostic errors. The key to avoiding diagnositc errors is clear communication. That means making sure that patients understand what they are being told about their condition. Avoiding diagnostic errors depends on this communication among all members of the healthcare team.
Both presenters emphasized the role of the patient in correctly making the diagnosis. Today's informed patient can be an advocate and resource to the healthcare team. Internet savvy patients can offer additional information to the team. They should get as much information as they can and talk to their providers about what they have learned. A key success factor is having patients SPEAK UP. This has been a long theme of patient safety organizations.
In addition to this keynote presentation, the CQS sponsored a Patient Safety Stars awards breakfast in which 50 staff were honored. These 50 MGH patient safety stars were nominated by their colleagues as people who offer examples of how staff can go above and beyond to assure patient safety. A common theme of this year's stories included how staff gently and respectfully speaks up on behal of patients to make the environment safer.
Informational tables were available in the White lobby for two days and generated large crowds of visitors, patients and staff.
Departments from across the institution developed important safety messages displayed on posters in a major hallway during Patient Safety Awareness Week. You can view these posters by clicking here or the Spanish version of posters by clicking here.
To learn more about the choosing of Patient Safety Stars and the other celebrations during Patient Safety Awareness Week in 2014, we invite you to read the MGH Hotline article from March 14, 2014.