Jump to content

USA: A national safety board made transportation safer and could do the same for healthcare, advocates say

People concerned about the safety of patients often compare health care to aviation. Why, they ask, can’t hospitals learn from medical errors the way airlines learn from plane crashes?

That’s the rationale behind calls to create a 'National Patient Safety Board,' an independent federal agency that would be loosely modelled after the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is credited with increasing the safety of skies, railways, and highways by investigating why accidents occur and recommending steps to avoid future mishaps.

But as worker shortages strain the US healthcare system, heightening concerns about unsafe care, one proposal to create such a board has some patient safety advocates fearing that it wouldn’t provide the transparency and accountability they believe is necessary to drive improvement. One major reason: the power of the hospital industry.

The board would need permission from health care organisations to probe safety events and could not identify any healthcare provider or setting in its reports. That differs from the NTSB, which can subpoena both witnesses and evidence, and publish detailed accident reports that list locations and companies.

A related measure under review by a presidential advisory council would create such a board by executive order. Its details have not been made public.

Learning about safety concerns at specific facilities remains difficult. While transportation crashes are public spectacles that make news, creating demand for public accountability, medical errors often remain confidential, sometimes even ordered into silence by court settlements. Meaningful and timely information for consumers can be challenging to find. However, patient advocates said, unsafe providers should not be shielded from reputational consequences.

Read full story

Source: CNN, 30 May 2023

Related reading on the hub:



Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...