Reflections from Mitchell Edwards TE MD 2017

AELPS17 Day 3

This programme continues to be a transformative experience today. What most stood out to me today was that even when we were free to go out on our own and talk amongst ourselves as we visited Arlington National Cemetery and The National Mall, conversations about patient safety and quality improvement continued among participants. This group seems to be very dedicated to the task of protecting patients from harm and I’m sure that its members will serve as leaders in this field. Another striking yet solemn moment was Rosemary Gibson’s speech in Arlington, which gave us a visual representation of the scourge of patient harm, such that if each person who perished at the hands of medical error were to be buried in Arlington, that they would need a new cemetery of that size every year.

AELPS17 Day 4

Over these few days, we have heard the ins and outs of many different programs existing at Medstar Health to prevent patients from harm and to mitigate medical error when it does occur. Although these seemed like inspiring programs, I maintained a critical eye throughout before I heard of the data on the real effect they had on patient safety outcomes in this hospital system. When Dr. David Mayer told us that in large part due to these changes, that there had been a 10 year reduction of serious safety events by 70%, I was blown away! I am convinced that this model should be adopted on a national scale, with particular attention to the population a given hospital serves, in order to protect patients from harm. As a part of my commitment to effect positive change in patient safety outcomes at my institution, I plan to assess the culture of safety in different departments, comparing this to the rate of serious safety events, as is based on the work of a Georgetown medical student who found an inverse correlation between these metrics. I have furthermore been inspired to harbour a culture of safety and spearhead and support efforts to build and maintain this in my future medical practice. This has been a highly valuable experience and I plan to recommend that my peers apply to attend next year.