The International Alliance of Patients' Organizations (IAPO) has held a series of meetings in Mexico City, June 6th-8th 2012. The meetings looked at two obstacles to the further development of healthcare in Latin America—non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and patient safety. Updates of the event can be found on Facebook. The hashtag #IAPOLATAM posts updates on Twitter. See also the IAPO press release.
The Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors (MA Coalition), a public-private
partnership with a mission to improve patient safety and eliminate medical errors in Massachusetts, reports on a new initiative led by one of its members, the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Professional Liability. Seven major hospitals have launched a new 'apology-to-patients' programme aimed at saving an estimated US$2 million (€1.6 million / £1.3 million) a year in litigation costs in Massachusetts. The approach was developed by the MA Coalition, and details of it were published in the April 2012 report, A Roadmap for Removing Barriers to Disclosure, Apology and Offer in Massachusetts. The programme aspires to move society away from a culture of blame and denial in the case of medical mistakes/errors, to one of greater transparency in advocating the health needs of patients. Under the plan, health professionals and institutions will disclose to patients whenever an adverse outcome occurs. If appropriate, the healthcare staff involved will apologize for the event, and offer fair financial compensation (though patients can still sue, if they want). The Massachusetts hospitals participating in the initiative are: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Needham; Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Milton; Baystate Medical Center in Springfield; Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield; Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware; and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
The MA Coalition's membership includes consumer organizations, state agencies, hospitals, professional associations for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, long-term care, as well as health plans, employers, policymakers, and researchers.
For more information: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/05/21/prsa0521.htm
Videos on the subject of 'Questions that patients should ask' have been produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.ahrq.gov/questions/pcvideos.htm
David Byrne, former EU Health Commissioner and Patron of Health First Europe (HFE), a cross-stakeholder alliance focused on medical technology, has called for a greater EU role in establishing higher standards for patient safety. Writing for the blog of Eucomed, the trade association of the medical device industry [it is necessary to register with the blog to read the
materials], Mr Bryne noted that 37,000 deaths are estimated by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) to occur in Europe each year from preventable infections acquired while receiving treatment. The fact that the figures are only an estimate indicates a lack of robust data on the subject. Thus far, the responsbility for ensuring patient safety rests with Member States, but Mr Byrne believes that the EU could and should play a role by disseminating pan-European best practices, and by encouraging the collection of better data on patient safety. The issue of harmonised reporting systems was discussed at the Health First Europe Open Forum Debate on Patient Safety in the European Parliament, on April 27th 2012, for the launch of HFE’s Recommendations on Patient Safety and Healthcare-Associated Infections. The general consensus at the Open Forum Debate was the need for such systems. Mr Bryne acknowledged that the next step would be the building up of the political momentum needed to attain his proposed goal.