National Patient Safety Board Full Court Press Team Meeting Discusses Ways to Raise Awareness about Medical Error through Media Coverage

Pictured from left to right are: Mari Devereaux, John Nance, and Andy Pasztor.

The National Patient Safety Board (NPSB) Full Court Press team meeting held virtually on February 7 provided a forum for a conversation between Full Court Press members and three national journalists on how to raise public interest and awareness about patient safety and medical error.

Guests included: Mari Devereaux, safety and quality reporter for Modern Healthcare; Andy Pasztor, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, author of the 1995 book When the Pentagon was For Sale: Inside America's Biggest Defense Scandal, and who was featured extensively in the recent Netflix film Downfall: The Case Against Boeing; and John J. Nance, an internationally recognized air safety advocate, a key thought leader in American Healthcare, founder of the National Patient Safety Foundation, an aviation analyst for ABC World News and aviation editor for Good Morning America.

"This is the conversation we've been waiting for. That we've all wanted to have. The media have not buried this problem. The issue is getting some really strong action at the federal level. But to get that action you need public awareness," Dr. Karen Wolk Feinstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation said, opening a discussion for how to continue to bring the issue of patient safety to the forefront of media coverage.

In conversation, the three media experts each noted that the last three years of the pandemic have exhausted the public and inundated them with healthcare news ranging from topics of COVID-19, health equity, environmental issues, nursing shortages, and more.

Devereaux said that while there is no shortage of individuals who have experienced adverse events with stories to tell. What's missing is extensive data to drive, shape, and inform coverage.

In the conversation, full court press member David Classen, MD, MS, shared data from a recent peer-reviewed article he reviewed which was ultimately removed from the manuscript before being printed. The table in the original manuscript showed the rates of adverse events per 100 admissions in each hospital in the study, with the three largest reporting adverse event rates per 100 admissions at 39-47 percent.

"In the biggest, best funded, most research-oriented hospitals in this study, they're injuring at least half of the patients admitted," Classen said. "If we don't look at field data, we're never going to know how bad it is."

Full court press member Sue Sheridan said the issue is there is no collective voice for patients and no significant forum to submit stories, experiences, and data, which the NPSB is working to address.

"When harm happens to your family, the first thing that you want to do is tell somebody so it doesn't happen again. Right now, we have no meaningful mechanisms to hear and learn from the patient community," Sheridan said.

Recording of the meeting is available here:
Dr. Karen Wolk Feinstein Speaks on Patient Safety ...
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