Hospitalists Can Be Prime Partners in QI, Patient Safety Efforts


NEW YORK—Hospitalists are poised to become key allies with hospital quality and safety officers nationwide, according to veteran hospitalist Jennifer Myers, MD, FHM, director of quality and safety education for Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.

Addressing hospitalists at the seventh annual Mid-Atlantic Hospital Medicine Symposium at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dr. Myers said that while the challenges associated with quality improvement (QI) are many, HM leaders have the in-house relationships and respect to push the issue.

"There's really no other specialty more perfectly poised to lead this work," she told more than 180 symposium attendees Friday.

Dr. Myers, in an address titled "Enhancing Patient Safety," told The Hospitalist that HM leaders pursue three broad goals: to participate in QI programs already in place, to help create or foster a culture focused on addressing mistakes, and to teach those lessons to young physicians.

She urged physicians to actively report on mistakes and near misses, and earnestly address the processes that led to them. If a vehicle to discuss the mistakes doesn't exist at an institution, hospitalists can push to start one, she said. If a hospital doesn't have an electronic incident reporting system, a hospitalist can push to get one. "This is the goal," Dr. Myers added. "People coming to work and feeling they can be safe and report errors in the spirit of improvement."

She noted that many hospitalists already oversee quality and safety programs without any formal training. She recommended some of those physicians consider the Quality and Safety Educators Academy (QSEA), a three-day academy designed as a faculty development program and sponsored by SHM and the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM). The academy is March 7-9, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz.

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