Patient Safety Expert Dr. Charles Denham on Patient Safety: Learn Global, Act Local, Be Vocal

Charles Denham, MD, of the Texas Medical Institute of Technology, reflects on what healthcare providers can do to intensify efforts toward increasing patient safety.

In an article published in Journal of Patient Safety, Dr. Denham said it is incumbent upon physicians and other providers to "accelerate improvement in patient safety because our fight against health care harm is intensifying." In light of declining resources and increased scrutiny over healthcare outcomes, Dr. Denham said providers must do three things: learn global, act local and be vocal.

Dr. Denham said providers must learn globally by seeking best practices for patient safety beyond the U.S. He points to countries such as Scotland where, under the leadership of Derek Feeley, director general of health, a reduction in adverse events across the country took place. In conjunction with taking lessons from other countries, Dr. Denham said much can be learned from other sectors, such as the manufacturing sector.

By acting locally, Dr. Denham calls on providers to increase accountability and ability, thereby addressing internal performance gaps within providers' respective healthcare organizations. "We must take personal accountability for the changes necessary in our behavior that should be made for transformation; and we must invest in the ability of those who need new skills to affect those changes," he said.

Healthcare providers also need to break out of the negative trend of keeping silent and idly watching as patients face potential harm. Leaders, Dr. Denham said, should lead by example and show their peers and students how to make patient safety a part of everyday life.

Read the article by Dr. Charles Denham about patient safety.

Read other coverage about patient safety:

- Hospitals With Infection Control Network Decease HAI Rates by 50%

- Joint Commission Releases Consumer-Focused Animated Patient Safety Videos

- Health Literacy Necessary for Efficient Healthcare, Patient Safety

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