NPSB Advocacy Coalition Hosts Congressional Briefing on Patient Safety and the Need for a National Patient Safety Board

Panelists speak during the NPSB Advocacy Coalition Congressional briefing.

The work of the National Patient Safety Board Advocacy Coalition was highlighted at the July 13th Congressional briefing at the Rayburn House Office in Washington, DC with a discussion on the alarming downturn in patient safety measures nationally and why a National Patient Safety Board (NPSB) is the solution.

During the briefing, Jewish Healthcare Foundation and Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative Chief Policy Officer Robert Ferguson, MPH shared that 1 in 4 people in the United States experience harm while receiving health care and medical error is the third leading cause of death.The current healthcare workforce shortage has created a further deterioration in patient safety and a need for breakthrough solutions, including a National Patient Safety Board.

The briefing featured a panel discussion with Coalition members Sue Sheridan, MIM, MBA, DHL, founding member of Patients for Patient Safety; José Rivera, Chief Administrative Quality Officer at MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Raj Ratwani, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at MedStar Health Research Institute, Director of MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, and Associate Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

The proposed independent federal board, the NPSB, would model the efforts of the National Transportation Safety Board and Commercial Aviation Safety Team and would complement existing agencies in monitoring and anticipating patient safety events with artificial intelligence, provide expertise to study the causes of errors, create recommendations and solutions to prevent future harms, and leverage existing systems to bring key learnings into practice. The NPSB would guarantee a data-driven, scalable approach to preventing and reducing patient safety events in healthcare settings—and will save lives.

The NPSB is modeled after CAST and the NTSB as a nonpunitive, collaborative, multi-disciplinary R&D team at Health & Human Services which would be tasked to identify and anticipate significant harm, understand the causes and pre-cursors to harm, and create solutions with the goal of preventing harm before it occurs and reducing the burden on health systems and frontline teams.

On December 1, 2022, U.S. Representative Nanette Barragán (D-CA) introduced H.R.9377 – the National Patient Safety Board Act. The legislation will be reintroduced in the next session.

The NPSB would be the most significant advancement in healthcare safety since the Patient Safety Act of 2005 and explained a broad-based coalition has come together to support the NPSB to create solutions to prevent harm and reduce the burden on healthcare workers, complementing the existing roles of other agencies. Started in early 2021, the NPSB Coalition has grown to 84 members representing leading healthcare organizations. 

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