Last month I told you about the 14th annual Patient Safety Congress that I would be attending in Washington, D.C. with a few of my HCA colleagues who were presenting. As has been the case in the previous events put on by the National Patient Safety Foundation, this year’s proved to offer another enriching and inspiring few days.

There were so many positive things that stood out to me this year that it would be near impossible to name them all. So I created a short list of things that were highlights for me.

  1. Simulation has become a distinguishing component of this conference. This year’s focus was on patient and family communication and we saw a demonstration of how an assertive family member can help prevent medical errors. I think it’s helpful for attendees to see live demonstrations of the concepts being presented.
  2. Working with families was a consistent theme in many of the sessions I attended. Clearly, health care providers need to learn some new skills in working with engaged and activated patient advocates.
  3. This conference isn’t just for health care professionals. While there were professionals from many disciplines, patients and patient advocates also attended. This is one of the things that make this conference different from any other I’ve ever attended. And when you think about it, it makes sense. How could you have a patient safety conference without patients?
  4. The conference ended with David Marx and Just Culture. Using the example of specimen collection, he showed us how to use The Proposition, to drive meaningful change, really fast.  This really brought the patient safety message home to me as a leader because driving improvement is our job.

I’m already looking forward to the 2013 Patient Safety Congress in New Orleans. If you’ve never attended or were unable to attend this year’s conference, I encourage you to consider it next year.

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