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IHI National Steering Committee for Patient Safety

By Paul Abramowitz posted 03-25-2019 12:01


I represent ASHP on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) National Steering Committee for Patient Safety and, in that regard, bring pharmacy’s perspectives to this very important initiative. I would like to give you an update on our progress.

The IHI National Steering Committee has representatives from the American Hospital Association, American College of Healthcare Executives, The Joint Commission, American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, National Quality Forum, CMS, CDC, AHRQ, ISMP, FDA, AARP, and several other prominent organizations involved in patient safety. The committee is charged with creating a National Action Plan to guide patient safety efforts across the country in a cohesive and coordinated fashion. The National Action Plan will focus on the following core areas related to patient safety issues: culture, leadership and governance, learning systems, patient and family engagement, and workforce safety.

To facilitate the work around these core areas, the National Steering Committee members have been divided into subcommittees. I am serving on the Culture, Leadership, and Governance Subcommittee. In addition, ASHP Past President Lisa Gersema and Immediate Past President Paul Bush have been appointed to serve on the Patient and Family Engagement and Workforce Safety subcommittees, respectively.   

The work of the subcommittees is well underway and includes assessment of available evidence and best practices, development of key recommendations to influence change at the national level, and practical tactics for implementation and measurement. The subcommittees’ work will continue throughout 2019. A release of the National Action Plan is expected by early 2020.

ASHP is proud to represent the collective efforts of our nearly 50,000 members in the creation of a national strategy for reducing harm in the delivery of healthcare. Though priorities often shift based on the evolving healthcare landscape, ASHP remains committed to its vision that medication use will be optimal, safe, and effective for all people all of the time. Active engagement of pharmacists, pharmacy residents, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians in the creation and implementation of this national patient safety strategy will ensure that pharmacy is positioned to help people achieve optimal health outcomes.

Since the release of the landmark To Err Is Human report in 1999, patients and family caregivers, healthcare providers, professional organizations, accrediting bodies, policymakers, and many other stakeholders have made significant progress in advancing patient safety. While this work has resulted in important improvements in the safety of our healthcare system, there is still a need for greater coordination of our efforts. Working in silos can lead to suboptimal patient outcomes, duplication of efforts, lack of accountability, barriers to collective learning, and missed opportunities for strategic approaches — thus the impetus for the work of the IHI National Steering Committee for Patient Safety.

As you continue your professional journeys to zero patient harm, ASHP will continue to play a critical role as your organizational partner and collective professional voice.

Thank you for all that you do to support and sustain a strong culture of safety on behalf of your patients and for being members of ASHP.



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1 comment



03-25-2019 13:23

​The collective efforts of  this Committee on development of a National Strategy for reducing harm are very much needed.  Healthcare systems around the country have struggled independently to make patient safety improvements and having standardized recommendations to follow will provide the framework to drive patient safety efforts and reduce patient harm.  Thank you for representing ASHP and pharmacists around the country is this effort!  Your work will make a huge impact on patient safety! The National Steering Committee efforts are much appreciated!