Expanding Our Horizons

Almost all of us, at some point, will depend on a hospital or health care facility for our own care or for the care of a loved one. And when we do, we want to know that the clinical staff are doing everything possible to provide us with the best care. This includes keeping us safe from harm. Without the assurance of safety, an institution’s clinical breakthroughs or scientific research discoveries, as well as its reputation, mean very little to patients.

When we launched Safety Matters six years ago, our focus was on communicating with our employees.  We sought to create more openness by sharing stories of errors that harmed or could have harmed a patient to educate staff and raise awareness with the aim of preventing errors from happening again. We’ve interviewed hundreds of clinicians, described in detail dozens of errors and, in response, made numerous changes in our systems and processes to enhance safety.

We remain fiercely committed to delivering the safest possible care and to developing a hospital culture where staff are comfortable speaking up about safety concerns. We also want to be fully transparent as we seek to engage patients in our efforts and educate them about quality and safety. To that end, we are repurposing this blog. Our goal is to share what we have learned with a broader audience – including patients and the general public, as well as our staff and clinicians everywhere.

We will discuss a broad range of issues in patient safety and health care quality, as well as what we are doing at Brigham Health to make care safer, including new programs and innovations. We will talk about matters such as the benefits and drawbacks of electronic health records, the importance of safety culture and what hospital and physician quality metrics mean, among many other issues.

We will also post stories about errors that occur at the Brigham and remain steadfast in our commitment to transparency, learning from our mistakes and ensuring staff are comfortable discussing errors.

We welcome your questions, ideas and suggestions for future topics. We encourage everyone to post comments and engage with us in a dialogue about making health care safer for everyone.