Sep 8, 2023 - Health

Presidential advisers recommend White House create patient safety team

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Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The White House should create a national patient safety team to help reduce high levels of dangerous care in the medical system, presidential advisers recommended Thursday.

The big picture: Progress in addressing preventable harms like medication errors and hospital-acquired infections has been "unacceptably slow," necessitating a White House-led initiative to improve patient safety, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology wrote in a report.

Details: The president should appoint a safety coordinator to work across government agencies, as well as a multidisciplinary patient safety team, the report said.

  • The team should issue non-binding recommendations that state and federal agencies can then take up.
  • The president should also require federal agencies to come up with a list of high-priority patient safety issues, evidence-based practices and mitigation strategies, as well as a national patient safety research agenda.
  • All efforts should include the voices of patients, families and communities most affected by safety issues.

By the numbers: One in four hospitalized Medicare patients were harmed in one month in 2018, and 43% of those incidents were preventable, a report from federal health inspectors found.

  • Preventable hospital-acquired infections also increased during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal analysis showed.

Of note: Patient safety improvements will have the added benefit of reducing U.S. health care costs, the advisers wrote.

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