Quality & Patient Safety

Q&A: IHI and NPSF merge to push patient safety initiatives

Patient Safety Monitor, May 24, 2017

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Editor’s note: In March, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) announced that they would merge starting May 1. The two organizations have been leaders in the patient safety field for years, and there is much hope stemming from their collaboration. The following is a lightly edited Q&A with Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, NPSF president and CEO, about what the merger will mean for the combined organization, now called the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. As of May 1, she is the Institute’s new chief clinical and safety officer.

PSMJ: How did this merger come to be, and how long have you been planning it?
Gandhi: The rationale behind our merger is straightforward: We want to ensure that safety is a central part of every organization’s improvement strategy today, and that the safety of patients and the healthcare workforce becomes a core value of healthcare systems around the world.
IHI and NPSF have actually worked together intermittently for many years. More recently, however, we’ve shared a concern that while progress is being made in patient safety, there are also many other competing priorities in healthcare. With that in mind, we started talking about working more closely together to further raise the profile and urgency of patient safety.
Over time, we came to the conclusion that the way to offer health professionals and patient safety advocates (including patients) the best resources, tools, and teaching to deliver the safest care would be to formally combine our strengths into a single organization.

PSMJ: What do you hope the outcome of this merger will be for your combined organization and for healthcare in general?
Gandhi: The governing boards and senior leaders of both organizations strongly believe that together, IHI and NPSF can advance their missions more effectively than they could by continuing to work apart. Together, we believe our combined knowledge, skills, and resources will be more effective in helping leaders and frontline clinicians meet all of today’s challenges, and together, we intend to develop some fresh approaches to focus and energize the patient safety agenda.
Both organizations have put a strong emphasis on the importance of organizational culture and systems of safety rather than approaching patient safety as a series of projects. We also want to see greater emphasis on the continuum of care, because while most patient safety research and improvements have focused on hospitals, most care is delivered in the outpatient setting.
IHI recently released A Framework for Safe, Reliable, and Effective Care (www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/IHIWhitePapers/Framework-Safe-Reliable-Effective-Care.aspx), [which] really describes a system of safety and how it can be achieved in healthcare.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Patient Safety Monitor.

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