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Healthcare Professionals to Discuss Medication Safety, Patient Welfare at Texas Forum on Health Safety

Healthcare Professionals to Discuss Medication Safety, Patient Welfare at Texas Forum on Health Safety
M. D. Anderson News Release 06/07/00

Healthcare professionals from across the state will convene in Houston for the second annual Texas Forum on Health Safety June 16 to discuss the important issue of medication errors and other key patient safety concerns.

The one-day event, A Culture of Safety in Action, will be held at the Omni Hotel, 4 Riverway, beginning at 8:15 a.m.

“Medication errors account for 20 percent of all healthcare errors, therefore it is imperative that we address this issue and walk away with action steps that can be implemented at our institutions," said Sherry Martin, chair of the Texas Forum on Health Safety. "It is also important that the Forum address other issues pertaining to the welfare of patients, including the topic of reforming our state's medical error reporting system so that it is less punitive."

Dr. James P. Bagian, director of the National Center for Patient Safety, will give the keynote address, “Patient Safety – Why Bother?” Forum attendees will hear from other healthcare leaders throughout the day and participate in discussion groups on effective reporting systems, error-free technology, the consumer’s role in patient safety and transferable best practices.

While health safety has long been a concern for healthcare organizations, the collaborative effort of The Texas Forum on Health Safety evolved from patient safety concerns at the national level. In 1998, the President's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in Health Care Industry recommended the reduction of errors and increased safety as one of six core aims to improve healthcare. In response, the American Medical Association created the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) an independent, not-for-profit organization designed to support necessary changes and track improvements.

In keeping with its program of developing community resources to further the issues of medication error and patient safety, NPSF encouraged Houston healthcare organizations to join forces and provide the leadership in Texas for an educational forum, thus creating the Texas Forum on Health Safety in 1999.

“The premises for the Texas Forum on Health Safety are based on lessons learned from other high-risk industries, such as aviation and aerospace, and how those sectors have been successful in evaluating entire systems," said Martin, who is associate vice president for process improvement at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

"Through careful assessment, those industries have been able to establish appropriate reporting systems, determine the root of specific safety errors and identify major opportunities for improvement. The same can be achieved in healthcare," she said.

Martin believes the Forum is especially timely due to the release of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report this past November. The report advocated a number of patient safety recommendations, including a national goal of reducing the number of medical errors by 50 percent over five years. “This forum will address many of the IOM's recommendations and continue our state's leadership role on the issue of patient safety," she said.

Martin encourages all those interested in and responsible for developing action plans for healthcare safety — both inside and outside the hospital setting — to attend the upcoming Forum.

“The meeting should be attended by any individual that holds accountability for patient care,” she said. “Healthcare CEOs, consumer advocacy groups and quality improvement professionals should share the responsibility of patient safety with physicians, nurses and pharmacists. With A Culture of Safety in Action, we hope to stress that a patient's safety cannot be not just the responsibility of one, but the obligation of many."

06/07/00


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