RAPS Salon Highlights the Significance of National Policy Recommendations to Advance Tech Innovations

Robert Ferguson, Chris Hart, Ken Catchpole, and Julie Morath discuss the potential impact of the NPST.

The October 11 Regional Autonomous Patient Safety (RAPS) Research and Development Salon convened stakeholders from across the Pittsburgh region and beyond to highlight how current policy recommendations at the national level could greatly support the RAPS initiatives' vision of creating innovation hubs to develop patient safety solutions.

Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, president and CEO, Jewish Healthcare Foundation and Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative shared that on September 8, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its Report to the President: A Transformational Effort on Patient Safety, the first significant national recommendations on patient safety since the publication of the Institute of Medicine's To Err is Human more than 20 years ago.

The first recommendation in the report to President Biden is "to establish and maintain federal leadership for the improvement of patient safety as a national priority," which includes creating a multidisciplinary National Patient Safety Team (NPST) within the Department of Human Services and the appointment of a patient safety coordinator reporting to the President. This recommendation has some alignment with the National Patient Safety Board (NPSB) Advocacy Coalition's key priority and core legislative goals of creating an interdisciplinary, innovation-focused team at the national level and establishing a federal home for patient safety.

If either an NPST or NPSB is established, there will be increasing demand for patient safety technology solutions. It light of these developments, Dr. Feinstein highlighted the increased need to plant the flag in Pittsburgh as an innovation hub, where university and industries can form partnerships and develop autonomous patient safety solutions to prevent harms before they occur.

The salon featured a panel discussion with Ken Catchpole, PhD, S.C. SmartState Endowed Chair in Clinical Practice and Human Factors, Medical University of South Carolina; Chris Hart, JD, MS, former Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board and member of the PCAST Patient Safety Work Group; and Julie Morath, RN, MS, member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Lucian Leape Institute and member of the PCAST Patient Safety Work Group.

During the discussion, panelists discussed engineering systems for safety and opening the door for outside experts to play a role in the process; in discussing the challenge and issues with data collection, an opportunity for innovation is to provide transfer of data to reduce burden and increase accuracy and timely flow of information; and the NPST having the opportunity to develop a culture of safety where silence on errors and near misses is harmful to clinicians and patients and opens the space to report, talk about, and collaborate across divisions that have been siloed.

The next RAPS Salon is scheduled to be held from 12-1 p.m. Thursday Nov. 16. Register now. 

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