Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Patient Safety Summit Breaks New Ground

The first annual Patient Safety Science and Technology Summit (PSSTS) was held in Dana Point, California on January 13 and 14, 2013. The two days were filled with presentations and panel discussions on several areas of patient safety.

Unlike many such conferences, this one expected a commitment from its more than 300 attendees to actually do something about increasing patient safety when they returned to their respective institutions.

The keynote address was given by former president Bill Clinton, who challenged those in attendance to follow through on their promises to actively promote patient safety in their institutions and achieve the summit’s goal of no preventable patient deaths by the year 2020.

Noted patient safety experts from around the world covered topics ranging from medical and nursing leadership to specific safety issues such as neonatal monitoring, medication errors, failure to rescue and inappropriate use of blood transfusions.

Family members of patients who died after medical errors presented their moving stories on video and in person.

The event was sponsored by the Masimo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Masimo Corporation, makers of medical monitoring equipment. Masimo’s CEO, Joe Kiani, teamed with patient safety guru, Dr. Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins to assemble the distinguished faculty.

A significant problem that the PSSTS identified is that most medical devices cannot communicate with each other because of interface issues. Nine major medical device manufacturers have pledged correct this and work on other areas of patient safety improvement in the future. In addition to Masimo, they include Dräger, GE Healthcare, Cerner, Zoll, Smiths Medical, Cercacor, SonoSite Fujifilm and Surgicount Medical.

I spent a few minutes with Mr. Kiani, who said, “Masimo will keep track of progress and expect follow-up results to be submitted.” This will apply to both corporate and individual attendee pledges.

Videos of all of the sessions including speakers, panels and Mr. Clinton’s address can be viewed here.

In the coming days I will discuss in detail some of the major areas covered by the summit.

Disclosure: I attended the meeting thanks to a grant from Masimo who had no input into anything written here.

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