2017 marks CHQS’ first full decade of improving healthcare quality and safety through research, education, and performance improvement.
Our work has had a significant impact—influencing national policy, appearing in leading medical journals, and receiving prestigious grants and awards. We have clearly defined the scope of the patient safety problem, identified major safety threats, and pioneered initiatives to improve electronic health records, safety culture and teamwork—all in an effort to make patients safer.
However, medical errors remain a leading cause of death around the world, and we have a lot more to do. That’s why we’re spearheading efforts to measure and improve the quality and safety of care provided by clinicians at UTHealth and Memorial Hermann, as well as at hospitals nationwide. For example, our work on measuring and improving safety culture and training clinicians to improve care at Memorial Hermann contributed to their Eisenberg Award for Safety and Quality in 2012. We are energized to lead innovative healthcare quality and patient safety initiatives both here in Houston and through collaboration with our peers across the US.
Our newest initiative is focused on partnering with patients and their families in improving healthcare quality and safety. Until now, the patient safety movement has largely done its work without involving the patients themselves. Yet their input provides a much more complete picture of why things go wrong, helps us make more effective safety improvements, and encourages clinicians to feel more personally accountable for improvement. The doctors and nurses on the front lines of care delivery must engage patients directly in safety improvement efforts. They must tell patients about errors that have harmed them, and hear the patient’s thoughts about why a harm occurred. And when building care improvement teams, they should include patients.
As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we are very grateful for our supporters and collaborators here in Houston and around the country. We hope this report leads to new relationships that help us generate knowledge to improve patient care. Please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Eric J. Thomas