CONTACT: DEBRA VENZKE
UI COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Release: Feb. 19, 2002
UI report recommends strategies for improving patient safety and health
To improve patient safety and health outcomes in Iowa, health care institutions
and providers need to create collaborative environments that foster respect,
trust and value among all members of the health care profession, according
to a new report issued by the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
This recommendation is one of nine key principles and initiatives developed
by a panel of health care experts at the workshop, "Developing a Statewide
Framework for Patient Safety and Health in Iowa," held April 12, 2001,
in Iowa City.
The workshop was held in conjunction with the conference, "Enhancing
Patient Safety and Health in Iowa," which took place on the UI campus
April 11, 2001. The conference provided a forum for critically examining issues,
opportunities and initiatives for improving patient safety and health at the
state and national levels. The event drew more than 200 participants, including
leaders from Iowa's hospitals, government, health care, business, labor and
insurance organizations, and other professionals in the health field.
"The conference and workshop report will serve as a resource for the
Iowa Department of Public Health as its leadership assumes the responsibility
for the next stage of this process, which we believe will lead to a statewide
action plan," said Christopher Atchison, UI College of Public Health
associate dean for public health practice and principal investigator of the
patient safety project. "We are confident that can be done with the support
of the many who have identified the shared importance of this agenda and the
need to work collaboratively to achieve improved health outcomes."
Other measures for patient safety recommended in the report include an approach
called "systems thinking," as well as implementation of continuous
quality improvement (CQI) methods.
"Systems thinking involves looking at the whole picture, and how each
component fits into the other pieces overall. A holistic system of policies
and protocols can be developed to improve patient safety at the state and
local levels," said Tanya Uden-Holman, Ph.D., UI assistant professor
of health management and policy, and director of the Institute for Quality
Healthcare. "A CQI approach to patient safety means always looking for
opportunities to make improvements. It's a continuous process of monitoring
patient safety-related initiatives, identifying best practices and setting
clear goals and targets for improvement."
The remaining key recommendations developed by the workshop participants
include: utilizing an evidence-based approach to develop best practices; creating
a learning environment that nurtures information sharing, is non-punitive,
and relies on evidence-based research in order to generate innovations; engaging
stakeholders to ensure a long-term commitment on a statewide basis; involving
consumers in the education, decision-making and planning process; developing
a strategy that addresses the legal issues surrounding the rights and responsibilities
of health care providers and patients; and assuring confidentiality for all
The report also provides summaries of the lectures and response panels delivered
at the conference, as well as a synopsis of federal and state patient safety
The patient safety project, funded by a $500,000 grant from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, was jointly initiated by the UI College
of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Public Health in response to the
1999 Institute of Medicine report, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer
System." The report challenged the American health care system to develop
effective methods for preventing medical errors and to take steps to improve
the quality of health care.
The report is available online at www.public-health.uiowa.edu/perspective/patientsafety/index.htm.
A limited number of printed copies are available by contacting Shari Heick
at (319) 335-6994 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.