On Medical Training and Patient Safety

A fundamental question is how important is patient safety within the environment of modern medicine. Here is a piece from the NewYork Times on the subject.

by Pauline Chen M.D.

an excerpt: http://tiny.cc/b8nsK
“Young doctors are being educated in a toxic culture,” said Dr. Lucian L. Leape, a leading patient safety expert at the Harvard School of Public Health who was chairman of the report’s committee. “The current environment is hierarchical, stressful for the individual, driven by the fee-for-service payment system and humiliating, all of which works against improving patient safety.” To ensure safer health care, doctors-in-training need time to reflect on their actions, a sense of community with colleagues and other health care workers, and the support to engage freely in disclosing errors.

Remarkably, medical schools and clinical training programs have long neglected patient safety in their required curriculum, but in the last few years, several institutions have tried to do so, with varying degrees of success. Many have had difficulty finding financial support, supportive leadership and experienced physician-teachers with formal training in patient safety.

And without appropriate expertise and leadership, institutions are at risk of overlooking even the obvious. In the study of residents and incident reports, for example, researchers found that hospital administrators and educators had told most of the trainees about the importance of patient safety. “But the residents were not aware of the procedure for filling out incident reports or even where they could find the forms,” said Rangaraj Ramanujam, an associate professor of management at the Owen Graduate School of Management atVanderbilt University in Nashville and senior author of the study. “It seems procedural and mundane, but in terms of shaping behavior, this kind of basic information is pretty important.” more: http://tiny.cc/b8nsK

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