April 2006 MedBytes: Patient Safety

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Patient safety continues to be at the forefront of today's health care concerns. Numerous online sites focus on or discuss this topic. This month's MedBytes takes a look at a few of them.

The Texas Medical Association has established the Patient Safety Resource Center as part of President Robert T. Gunby Jr., MD's focus on patient safety. Located on the association's Web site, the center is continuously updated with news, research findings, and links to useful tools for practicing physicians. You can log on to the site and find information on the 100K Lives Campaign that TMA has joined, as well as information on health disparities, health literacy, improved care for acute myocardial infarction, medication reconciliation, and prevention of surgical infections. The site also links to other patient safety organizations and a patient safety bibliography.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AHRQ sponsors and conducts research that provides evidence-based information on health care outcomes, quality, cost, use, and access. The information helps decision-makers - patients and clinicians, health system leaders, purchasers, and policymakers - make more informed decisions and improve the quality of health care services. AHRQ's site at www.ahrq.gov  provides clinical information, funding opportunities, research findings, and quality assessment data.

Joint Commission  International  Center  for Patient Safety
In March 2005, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and Joint Commission Resources (JCR) announced the establishment of the Joint Commission International Center for Patient Safety. This new entity is a natural extension of the well-established patient safety activities for which the Joint Commission and JCR are recognized. The center will leverage the expertise, resources, and knowledge from both the Joint Commission and JCR. The mission of the center is to continuously improve patient safety in all health care settings. Its Web site,  www.jcipatientsafety.org, contains a resource section specifically for health care professionals.

National Patient Safety Foundation
Created to improve the safety of patients and serve as an invaluable resource, the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) believes patient safety is central to quality health care. Annual reports and a bibliography encompassing materials from medical, legal, news, and other sources can be found online at  www.npsf.org. The site also contains a Patient Safety Store with educational materials from various vendors.

The Leapfrog Group for Patient Safety
The Leapfrog Group is an initiative driven by organizations buying health care and working to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for Americans. The 1999 Institute of Medicine report gave the Leapfrog founders an initial focus - reducing preventable medical mistakes. Leapfrog works with medical experts throughout the United States to identify problems and propose solutions that it believes will improve hospital systems that could break down and harm patients. The site,  www.leapfroggroup.org, provides online information for consumers, the chance to become a Leapfrog member, access to the Leapfrog Group Hospital Quality and Safety Survey, and the opportunity to read the latest Leapfrog news releases.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Promoting patient safety and health care quality is an integral part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) public health focus. Part of the overall CDC site, the Patient Safety page at  www.cdc.gov/washington/overview/patntsaf.htm  gives information about CDC's campaign to prevent adverse events in health care settings through its infection-prevention program and the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System. Additionally, the site presents a list of related public health bills and access to CDC reports.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to   Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email Erin Prather. Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  


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