National Patient Safety Board

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COVID-19 demonstrated a pressing need to improve safety in our health system. Prior to the pandemic, preventable medical error caused an estimated 250,000 deaths a year in the U.S., ranking as the 3rd leading cause of death. Despite earlier disclosures of this tragedy, we have not made significant progress over the past 20 years.

Previous efforts to improve processes and change behavior at healthcare’s frontline have been decentralized and have not been successful. The primary reason is that these improvements do not have one federal entity to independently determine why the adverse events are occurring and create solutions to prevent recurrence.

Meanwhile, other industries have seen dramatic improvements in safety. Transportation, for instance, benefits from having that single federal agency with a clear, defined, and focused mission—the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB studies the accidents, mishaps, and close calls with the greatest potential for harm. The NTSB’s interdisciplinary teams then propose solutions and corrective actions to prevent future injury. The vast majority of NTSB solutions have become standard practice and widely adopted, producing exceptional levels of safety and saving lives.

A proposed federal independent board, the National Patient Safety Board (NPSB), would model the NTSB within health care. The NPSB would support agencies in monitoring and anticipating adverse events with artificial intelligence, conduct studies, create recommendations and solutions to prevent medical error, and leverage existing systems and bring key learnings into practice.

In early 2021, a growing coalition of leading healthcare organizations and experts began to advance and call for the creation of the NPSB.  For more information, please visit

Like the NTSB, the NPSB will save lives.

If you are interested in joining the effort to advance the NPSB, please contact us at