5.07.2009

New Tools Help Physician Practices Improve Safety

The focus of many efforts to improve processes in healthcare has been primarily on hospitals. That is understandable, both because of the many patients hospitals serve and because hospitals abound with opportunities for improvement.

But so far, there haven’t been many resources developed for clinics or private practices. That is why I am encouraged to learn that a consortium of healthcare organizations has developed Pathways for Patient Safety, a set of tools geared specifically to help physician practices improve safety.

The three Pathways modules were developed by the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET), in partnership with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and with support from The Commonwealth Fund.

I don’t know whether anyone involved in development of the modules knew anything about lean concepts, but the modules (which are free) seem to be on the right track.


Working as a Team - outlines actions required for building high-performing patient safety teams and techniques for effective communications among care givers to reduce patient harm.

Assessing Where You Stand - provides practical steps toward minimizing medical errors by assessing current patient-safety procedures, addressing practice culture and setting goals.

Creating Medication Safety - describes factors practices should consider when implementing or augmenting a medical reconciliation process, and when prescribing or administering medications that may be harmful to patients.


This is another encouraging development in improvement of healthcare.

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