How a National Patient Safety Plan Can Help Clinicians

October 29, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified October 30, 2020

The safety of the healthcare workforce is one of four foundational areas in a new national report on patient safety, highlighting how intertwined the well-being of patients remains with those who care for them, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety was released in September, and took 27 medical and regulatory organizations, patients, and patient advocacy groups more than 2 years to create.

“We began work on the plan before COVID was a household name. But as the pandemic evolved, we’ve been as impressed by how the plan is as relevant for addressing the new challenges from COVID as it is for other longstanding patient safety problems,” Jeffrey Brady, MD, MPH, co-chair of the plan’s National Steering Committee (NSC), said during a news conference announcing availability of the new report.

“The pandemic has highlighted the need to take care of people on the front line everyday…and the plan tells us how,” added Brady, who is also director of the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The plan focuses on various issues, including:

  • Culture, Leadership, and Governance
  • Patient and Family Engagement
  • Workforce Safety
  • Learning System

Patient safety and clinician safety remain intrinsically linked. “Workforce safety cannot be an add-on or an afterthought but is in fact a prerequisite for safe and effective patient care,” said Kedar Mate, MD, president and chief executive officer at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The IHI led and coordinated creation of the plan.

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