Developing a Patient Safety Organization: Q&A With Kathy Martin of the GE PSO

Kathy Martin is managing director of the GE PSO, part of GE Healthcare Performance Solutions.

Q: Why did GE Healthcare consider it important to start a PSO?

Kathy Martin: A focus on patient safety has been central to GE Healthcare's mission to deliver medical products and services for nearly a century. Patient safety is also an integral part of GE's healthymagination initiative, a 6 year, $6 billion commitment to provide better health, to more people, at a lower cost. GE Healthcare felt it was important to use its combination of industry expertise and advanced technology to assist hospitals make meaningful improvements in patient care and safety.


Q: How are the members of the GE PSO benefitting from their involvement in the PSO? What is an example of an improvement measure a member has undertaken as a direct result of involvement with the PSO?


KM: The GE PSO aims to help members improve patient safety through a variety of methods, including data collection, reporting and evaluation. Data and information reported to the GE PSO is used to understand the current landscape, identify risk points, develop and implement theory driven strategies to reduce risk and evaluate the impact of implementing these strategies on the quality of care provided. This information is shared through monthly and quarterly reports. Along with the reports, the GE PSO is creating a community for members to discuss, learn and share best practices in a real-time, web-based environment that fosters rapid dissemination of knowledge and current thinking about patient safety. Together, this combination to understand, openly discuss, and to learn from others will help hospitals make lasting safety improvements that support the reduction of adverse events and increase reporting of near misses.


For example, using data collected as part of its involvement with the GE PSO, a hospital in Rhode Island found a large number of reported risks or near-misses related to properly identifying patients. Armed with this data, the hospital was able to remind staff of their identification policies, provide education and adopt a systematic approach to prevent further identification errors.


Q: If speaking to hospitals and other organizations not involved with any PSO, what would GE Healthcare say are the key reasons these facilities should consider joining a PSO?


KM: Over one million people per year are affected by medical error. Some studies show that the number of deaths in the United States alone due to medical error is equivalent to a jet crashing into the ground every day — a significant issue facing healthcare providers. The GE PSO provides a safe community for professionals to network and collaborate on patient safety challenges, problems and solutions, learning not only from those in their own organizations, but others as well. Being a part of a PSO encourages the reporting of more complete data and information by allowing hospitals to securely collect and share information about events of all types to build a robust, reliable and relevant database — one key to making improvements in patient safety. From there, the PSO members now have access to insights into patient safety issues, process improvements and quality assurance activities they may not have had available before PSO membership.


Learn more about the GE PSO.

More Articles Featuring GE Healthcare:

Benefits of Involvement in a Patient Safety Organization: Q&A With Melinda Malecki of Cook County Health & Hospitals System

GE Healthcare Announces $300M Investment in Low Radiation Dose Technology

GE's New MRI Machine Gets FDA Approval

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