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A new report to the White House from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) underscores the urgent need for patient safety and a reduction in the adverse events that injure and kill patients each year.

The report urges the administration to create leadership around patient safety in the US. The report relates that one in four hospitalized Medicare patients suffer an adverse event—sometimes of a catastrophic nature.  Of those errors, 40 percent are felt to be preventable.

Medical errors do not respect age, class, or racial background.  Patients from all walks of life suffer from medical mistake such as surgical injury, medication and diagnostic error, hospital-associated infections (HAIs), device malfunctions, and outright failure to respond to symptoms that could rapidly cause death.

The report advances recommendations to the President that include:

  • Create and maintain federal leadership in the area of Patient Safety:  PCAST suggests the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversee the drive to establish a permanent environment of patient safety at the national level.  To facilitate, PCAST suggests a new Patient Safety Coordinator responsible for reporting directly to the President on governmental efforts to reduce medical error and increase patient safety and trust.  Also recommended is the creation of a Multidisciplinary National Patient Safety Team (NPST).
  • Create and maintain federal action to prevent medical harm and publicize best practices for reducing patient risk:  The report charges the government with promoting patient safety through federal development of strategies to reduce preventable error and “never events.” Utilize healthcare data to identify and track patient harm events and develop best practices to counter deficient health care practices.
  • Involve patients, families, and communities in identifying, discussing, and combatting unsafe health care and practices: PCAST recommends engaging stakeholders and collaborators in both the provider and patient community. 
  • Boost research on best practices and technologies for providing safe healthcare and reducing the injuries and deaths currently commonplace because of medical mistake: The report suggest development of a “National Patient Safety Research Agenda” along with technologies to advance patient safety.

Reform to address devastating medical errors and related harms has long been sought. This report makes good sense—but is it actionable with real hope to reduce devastating medical errors that occur across this country every day?  We’ll see.

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With a reputation for excellence, Schochor, Staton, Goldberg and Cardea, P.A. is dedicated to helping those injured through medical mistake and negligence.  Call 410-234-1000 or contact us to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.