Highlights From A Patient Safety and Quality Journey

Dave Mayer and Tim McDonald are two of the early adopters of the patient safety movement supported by luminaries and other early adopters like Lucian Leape, Don Berwick, Rick Boothman, and Cliff Hughes. Recently, I wrote on their acceptance of the American College of Medical Quality Founders Award, and promised to share some of the highlights of their collective body of work. Here are a few of those highlights:

  1. The creation of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Patient Safety Excellence, one of the first of its kind in the US focused on the tripartite mission of clinical care, education and research. It is an interprofessional “confederacy” with membership from six health science colleges all working together with a medical center, leaving their personal agendas at the door, in efforts to make patient care safer and of higher quality. They recognized that the problem of patient safety and less than optimal quality is an interdisciplinary problem requiring an interdisciplinary solution. The Institute strives to discover and validate such solutions.
  2. The Telluride Patient Safety Roundtables and Summer Camps. The Telluride Roundtable is an annual retreat now going on nine years, where experts in safety, quality and health science education come together with patients, family members, residents and students to develop and refine health science education that supports a culture of quality, safety, and transparency in patient care. In 2013, over a span of three weeks, Dave and Tim will be bringing resident physicians leaders as well as medical, nursing, pharmacy and allied health student leaders – over 100 of them – to Colorado and Washington DC for educational immersion in quality, safety and the importance of open and honest communication in healthcare so they can go back to their schools and residency programs and “infect” others, sharing the importance of high quality, transparent patient care.
  3. UIC’s Masters in Patient Safety Leadership program – the first online, adult learning, interprofessional Master’s level degree program in the country where physicians, nurses, pharmacists, hospital administrators, lawyers and even patient advocates can come together and learn together. Dave shares that healthcare is a team sport today, and that all healthcare providers need to learn and practice together.
  4. A comprehensive response to patient harm that includes extreme honesty, full disclosure and early offer was created at Telluride in 2005 with input from Patients and Families. It has become known as The Seven Pillars Program and is the foundation of a multi-million dollar AHRQ grant that has allowed the pair to connect more than 1000 hospitals to these concepts. From a personal level, Tim shares that the program also includes their Best Practice – Physician Peer Support Program that is provided 24/7 for all physicians involved in emotionally challenging harm events.
  5. An award-winning educational film series entitled “The Faces of Medical Error…From Tears to Transparency”. The films are being used in medical schools, residency programs, hospital grand rounds and board rooms across the world to create conversations on how to make care safer and of higher quality. Many years ago Rosemary Gibson, a very wise woman, wonderful friend and mentor to both Tim and Dave, taught us the power of connecting the brain – the learning – with the heart – the emotion. Tim and Dave produced these movies with Rosemary’s words in mind and dedicated them to the families who have lost love ones due to unintentional harm. As Dave shares, they are the true heroes, the patent and family advocates who, despite their tremendous loss, give back every day in efforts to make care safer for others.

And what I’m personally thankful for is that they stuck with it — this is not a journey for weak of heart — and it’s not something for those driven by instant gratification. Changing an entire culture of an industry takes those like Dave and Tim, who can take their lumps along the way and keep moving forward because they care so deeply about the well-being of patients and the profession they have dedicated a lifetime to.

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One Comment on “Highlights From A Patient Safety and Quality Journey”

  1. Hilary Corrigan says:

    Congratulations, Dave and Tim! It’s truly amazing what you do! Keep it up!


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