The Growing Patient Safety Movement


    The Informed Patient –

    This article from the WSJ talks about a trend where patients (or, more often, family members of patients) who were injured or killed by medical mistakes are dedicating their lives to improving patient safety for others, instead of just suing the pants off of everybody. In many cases, people are taking their settlements and are turning that money into a useful and productive outlet, patient safety advocacy organizations.

    For one, this speaks to the importances and meaning of healthcare…. rarely (if ever) does a person say “I got a defective engine, I need to make sure that never happens to another customer.”

    When her 18-month-old daughter Josie died after a series of medical mistakes at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore six years ago, Sorrel King was consumed by grief and anger, wanting to destroy the hospital and even end her own life. But with three other children to live for, she and her husband Tony decided they had to help fix a broken system.

    “We had to do something good that would prevent this from ever happening to a child again,” Ms. King says. When the hospital offered a financial settlement, Ms. King, a former fashion designer who had become a stay-at-home mom, asked Johns Hopkins to take some of the money back to start a children's safety program. She also created the Josie King Foundation to fund safety initiatives at other hospitals.

    Now, to take the message to a broader audience of both consumers and medical professionals, she is launching a new Web site,, with her own blog on patient safety; an online community where families can post their medical-error experiences and provide emotional support; advice from medical and legal experts on how to avoid error and deal with it when occurs; and resources for hospitals seeking to improve safety.

    Here is a collection of websites on patient safety and other grass roots, patient-driven efforts. In what other industry are the CUSTOMERS having to work so hard to drag their suppliers (the hospitals, health systems, and caregivers) into proactive and preventative quality improvement and error prevention? Amazing.

    Josie King Foundation

    PULSE – Persons United Limiting Substandards and Errors in Health Care

    MITSS – Medically Induced Trauma Support Services – Preventing Surgical Fires

    CAPS – Consumers Advocating Patient Safety

    Mothers Against Medical Error

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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