Patient Safety Full Court Press Team Advances in 2021

Full speed ahead into a new year, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation's Patient Safety Full Court Press Team met virtually on January 25 to discuss policy and technology considerations for a National Patient and Provider Safety Authority (NPSA).

The Team was honored to have National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt as a guest speaker. Chairman Sumwalt shared information on the NTSB's structure and functions, noting that the NTSB includes a board of five presidential-nominated board members and a staff of 400, and that the NTSB provides recommendations, not regulations, based on its investigational findings. Chairman Sumwalt emphasized the benefit of the federal agency's independence towards its ability to investigate adverse transportation events, and his continued partnership will be crucial to modeling the NPSA on the NTSB's prior success.

Tom Mitchell, Lead Technologist of the Block Center, and E. Fredkin University Professor of Machine Learning and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, spoke about applications for artificial intelligence and machine learning, and how these can play a role in improving patient safety. He said that given the right data, artificial intelligence (AI) technology has a lot to offer, and that we have current and upcoming autonomous technologies that could be applied to patient safety now and in the near future. Through the NPSA, he said, AI could be used to detect cancer, monitor patients remotely, and support second opinions on diagnostics and proposed treatment plans, among many other uses. He advocated for a push towards applying these technologies to health care through the NPSA.

Jeanne Iasella, Chief Solutions Officer of TeleTracking, a Pittsburgh company with 30 years of experience, presented on command centers and their applications to improving safety in patient access, placement, and discharge. Jeanne shared that TeleTracking has been focused recently on command centers, and that future opportunities exist to use command centers for patient safety. These include dedicating a command center "desk" to patient safety; using the power of predictive analytics to improve patient safety; creating adaptive workflows; and extending patient safety beyond the acute care setting.

The Team discussed the opportunities to bring healthcare up to speed with data use, monitoring, real-time tracking, and technology to identify and prevent errors, and they noted data sharing and collaboration will be key going forward. Recognizing the plethora of technologies available and forthcoming, the Team identified the need to prioritize areas of focus for the NPSA.

James Gelfand, Senior VP, Health Policy of the ERISA Industry Committee wrapped the meeting with a presentation on policy next steps to push for the NPSA at the legislative and executive levels, and what is needed from the NPSA Committee members. The Team will move forward with finalizing their policy plans and begin building a coalition to advance policy for the NPSA.

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