Katie Couric, others keeping patient safety in the national spotlight

Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but it seems like we're reaching a critical mass where enough people are interested in improving patient safety that we can make a serious impact. In just the past week, several national media outlets have focused attention on this issue. At 4 p.m. Eastern today, I'll appear on a special segment of Katie Couric's program, "Katie!" that is devoted to the topic of medical mistakes. One takeaway from this program is that there are many things that patients and their loved ones can do to reduce the risk of medical errors and preventable complications.

In other news, the nationally syndicated public radio program Marketplace recently ran a segment about efforts by Johns Hopkins clinicians and safety experts to reduce harm in intensive care units. Listen to the program or read the story online to learn how the team is tapping clinicians, engineers, patients and families to design an ICU that is safer and more integrated.

And the Wall Street Journal this week launched an online forum about health care, The Experts, in which 10 health care experts offer their take on issues facing the field. The questions we answered this week also had slant toward improving safety, quality and value in health care—for instance, about the effect of limiting how long resident physicians can work in a shift.

It's rewarding to see that the public and the press are turning their attention on these issues. I'm proud of the dedicated clinicians, patients and others at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere who are helping to push the issue and advance our knowledge of how to prevent harm.

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