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AAOS Now

Published 7/1/2016
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William J. Robb III, MD; Paul Zemaitis, MPH

Patient Safety Experts to Participate in Summit

Despite the many technological advances in health care, surgical adverse events leading to patient harm still exist. As a leader in the patient safety movement, AAOS aims to help healthcare organizations work together to address the many issues and challenges involved in providing safe, high-quality care.

Together with the American College of Surgeons, AAOS will sponsor the National Surgical Patient Safety Summit (NSPSS), Aug. 4–5, in Rosemont, Ill. The NSPSS will include representatives from orthopaedic and other surgical specialties, anesthesia, nursing, and additional stakeholders committed to improving the safety of surgical patients (see Table 1).

In an effort to unify patient safety efforts, the NSPSS will define surgery safety as a "shared surgical community priority" and will therefore propose solutions that effectively combine elements of safety science, principles of high reliability, and best safety practices across all phases of surgical care. The program has the following goals:

  • define essential surgical safety knowledge, behaviors, and systems
  • identify required safety data collection and performance measurement
  • propose surgical safety education curricula
  • identify surgical safety knowledge gaps and research priorities
  • propose surgical safety standards for surgical education programs and practices

To accomplish these goals, NSPSS participants have been assigned to the following workgroups:

  • Group 1—Key Safety Definitions/Elements/Processes/Phases of Care
    Charge: Identify and define essential surgical safety elements and processes, as well as the multiple teams responsible for all phases of the surgical care continuum.
  • Group 2—Human Factors/Behaviors/Culture/High Reliability
    Charge: Identify principles, behaviors, and systems needed to improve surgical communication and leadership supporting a highly reliable and sustainable culture of safety.
  • Group 3—Technology/Data/Performance Measurements
    Charge: Identify principles, measures, and programs needed for collection and analysis of surgical safety data to drive performance measurement. Leverage technology supporting safety system reliability and resilience to continually improve safety processes and outcomes.
  • Group 4—Education/Training Programs
    Charge: Identify and recommend implementation strategies for education programs needed to advance surgeon, surgical team, and surgical facility safety knowledge and practices.

As health care increasingly shifts to a value-based model, surgeons need to play a major role in creating a system that delivers the highest quality and safest care possible. By bringing together a diverse group of surgical stakeholders, NSPSS has the potential to make the changes necessary to provide patients with the care and safety they deserve.

William J. Robb III, MD, is the past chair of the AAOS Patient Safety Committee. He can be reached at wjrobb3@gmail.com

Paul Zemaitis, MPH, is the lead orthopaedic safety specialist in the AAOS department of research and scientific affairs. He can be reached at zemaitis@aaos.org