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Institute for Healthcare Improvement Releases National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety

By Paul Abramowitz posted 09-15-2020 08:12


Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s National Steering Committee for Patient Safety, of which ASHP is a member, has released a National Action Plan to provide health systems with renewed momentum and clearer direction for eliminating preventable medical harm. The National Action Plan seeks to re-energize efforts to improve patient safety. It emphasizes the need for greater collaboration among healthcare organizations and a sharper focus on foundational changes to reduce medical errors.

The National Steering Committee has a strong membership roster that includes representatives from the American Hospital Association, American College of Healthcare Executives, The Joint Commission, American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Food and Drug Administration, and several other prominent organizations involved in patient safety.

ASHP played a key role in helping to develop the National Action Plan. As a member of the steering committee charged with representing the collective voice of our 55,000 members, I was proud to be able to highlight the pharmacist’s critical role in improving patient safety across the continuum of care. In addition to my role on the steering committee, I also served on the Culture, Leadership, and Governance subcommittee. ASHP Past Presidents Lisa Gersema and Paul Bush served on the Patient and Family Engagement and Workforce Safety subcommittees, respectively.

Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety calls out health equity as a core principle for all work on safety. The plan includes insights and recommendations that center on four foundational areas: Culture, Leadership, and Governance; Patient and Family Engagement; Workforce Safety; and Learning Systems. It also includes evidence-based practices, widely known and effective interventions, and case studies to help healthcare organizations act on the recommendations and achieve progress across the four foundational areas.

Of particular note to our members, the 17 recommendations that make up the National Action Plan have a distinct focus on collaboration, transparency, and interprofessional cooperation across the continuum of care to advance workplace and patient safety.

Pharmacists, pharmacy residents, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians are well-suited to take on leadership roles in a national strategy for reducing harm in the delivery of healthcare. I encourage you to read the National Action Plan and work within your own organizations to advance these recommendations. Active engagement of our members in the National Action Plan will ensure that pharmacy professionals are strongly positioned to help patients achieve optimal health outcomes in all healthcare settings and during transitions of care.

Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for everything you do for your patients and our profession.