By Anne Gunderson, Ed.D, MS, GNP
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report that estimated 44,000 to 98,000 people were dying each year in hospitals as a result of medical errors. Even the lower estimate suggested that medical errors were the eighth leading cause of death, higher than motor vehicle accidents or breast cancer. A little over a decade later, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death and account for more than 400,000 deaths per year.
Recent studies have reported that as many as one-third of hospitalized patients may experience harm or an adverse event, often from preventable errors. For more than a decade, reports of the IOM have focused attention on a persistent set of problems within the American health care system, including: poor quality, lax safety, high cost, and questionable value. The traditional systems for dissemination of new knowledge can no longer keep pace with scientific and quality improvement advances. According to the IOM, if unaddressed, the current shortfalls in the performance of the nation’s health care system will deepen on both quality and cost dimensions, challenging the well-being of Americans now and potentially far into the future.
According to the IOM, the culture of health care is central to promoting learning at every level. The need for a new culture of care is common to all types of health care organizations. Continuous improvement requires understanding of the scientific method, systematic problem solving, the application of systems engineering techniques, operational models that encourage and reward sustained quality and improved patient outcomes, transparency on cost and outcomes, strong leadership with a vision devoted to improving health care processes. The goal is to create continuously-learning organizations that generate and transfer knowledge from every patient interaction to yield greater performance predictability and reliability.
The absence of such training leads to medical errors – a serious problem that affects not just patients, but also the health care workers involved. Many good physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals have left the field due to depression and lack of support from their colleagues. Even more unfortunate, a growing number of health care professionals take their own lives each year when involved in a preventable medical error. If we cannot take care of our own, how could we possibly administer care for our patients?
There is finally a solution for practitioners and their patients. The Executive Master’s in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership at Georgetown University and MedStar Health provides an opportunity to change the world with a Patient-First Education. The Executive CQSL degree program unleashes a systematic, evidence-based education that will achieve striking results in safety, quality, reliability, and healthcare value. A fundamental tenet of the program is that all health care professionals must work in concert toward the wellbeing and safety of each patient. The Executive CQSL will allow learners across the world to access the safety science and quality learning opportunity provided by our Executive program.
Healthcare practitioners and leaders need new skills and attitudes to meet the changing needs of patients in a medical environment that has complex, multi-layered systems, informatics, assessment, outcomes, and quality indicators. Secondary to these changes, health care has become a high-risk industry. With a learner-focused environment, the CQSL program will equip learners to become leaders in the advancement of safety science and quality healthcare, and leadership. The curriculum includes online, asynchronous coursework, simulations, team training, and one onsite residency. The future is yours…and your patients’.
Change the World with a Patient-First Education