PRHI and JHF Board Members Weigh in on Patient Safety Initiatives

On August 8, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) Communications Committee met to discuss two of their newest patient safety initiatives, the Patient Safety Technology Challenge and the Regional Autonomous Patient Safety (RAPS) Initiative.

During the meeting, JHF staff detailed plans for the Patient Safety Technology Challenge, and Board members weighed in on communications plans for a documentary to tell the story of the Challenge award winners and elevate the issue of patient safety and opportunity for technology innovations to address longstanding problems. The Board was also presented with the current strategies for the RAPS Initiative aimed at helping Pittsburgh become a global leader in autonomous patient safety technology.

As part of the RAPS Initiative's work, a proposal from Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Center for Machine Learning and Health, Tepper School of Business, Mellon College of Science, and Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy was presented that seeks to establish the Initiative for Patient Safety Research (IPSR) at CMU. The proposal outlined a potential partnership between CMU and JHF to build and engage a multidisciplinary community of researchers and PhD students across several of CMU's schools to analyze medication errors and produce proof-of-concept innovations to address the issue. IPSR would an initial grant from JHF to support PhD students and faculty in developing new computational analysis methods to identify and define medication errors. Identifying trends in data associated with the errors would, in turn, provide an understanding of the pre-cursors to and causes of medication errors to be used to innovate autonomous solutions.

JHF President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD said medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US. She added the goal of the project is to create a better health system and a healthcare environment dedicated to safety and that addressing medication error was just the first step in using data-driven, systems-based solutions to anticipate other medical errors and prevent major sources of harm before they occur.

The Board supported the evolution and direction of RAPS and the Patient Safety Technology Challenge. It expressed appreciation for the proposed initiative at CMU, recognizing the university's history of success in autonomous technology and its reputation as an innovator and neutral entity in the healthcare space. The Board emphasized the potential opportunities of the project to improve the integration of human systems with autonomous systems; and foster current partnerships and create new partnerships to deploy and test the system.
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