New med school curriculum to emphasize patient safety

The Patient Safety Movement Foundation is creating a curriculum for persons going into medical school, as well as other healthcare professionals, to teach patient safety across the education process from freshman year through residency.

The goal is to reduce preventable patient deaths, and multiple schools already have committed to the curriculum. They include Chapman University School of Pharmacy, Universidad Autonoma de Mexico School of Medicine, San Diego State University School of Nursing and Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

More organizations are joining daily, says Steven Scheinman, MD, president and dean at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

“Helping healthcare students and professionals understand how to integrate patient safety into everything they do is critical to creating a culture and infrastructure that reduces preventable harm to patients,” says David Mayer, CEO at the Patient Safety Movement Foundation. “Our curriculum does that and provides them with behaviors and tools they need to prevent medical errors.”

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More than 200,000 people die each year in U.S. hospitals, so the idea is to not compete with other schools, but to link to each other’s patient safety curriculum to learn and incorporate desired aspects of other’s curriculum, and adapt it to other organizations’ clinical settings.

The curriculum is innovative in that its modular structure can be used by any learner in the healthcare field and at any stage of professional development. “Our charge was to develop a program that would make education about patient safety an active step that any learner and those responsible for teaching them can take to reach the goal of zero preventable hospital deaths,” Scheinman says. “We believe this adaptability will greatly facilitate adoption of this curriculum in a wide range of healthcare settings.”

In the early stage of implementation, training is underway to develop faculty to lead various exercises that can help move toward the goal of having no preventable deaths, as well as development of simulations and clinical settings that will be used to guild patient safety skills.

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