It is a joy taking the helm of the Journal of Patient Safety, because it is a truly successful publication which is in no small part due to the terrific leadership of Dr. Nancy Dickey. She has served as Editor-in-Chief through the typically challenging period of any start-up enterprise. To her we owe a great debt of thanks. Now we must do justice to her work and the many contributors to its success by making sure we can help suppliers, providers, and purchasers of healthcare receive actionable information that can save lives, save money, and deliver value to the global communities we serve.
In order to step up to the challenges our readers will have to face in the decade ahead, we are going to serve them by implementing five strategic initiatives:
- Scientific Rigor: We are going to intensify the scientific rigor and communicative effectiveness required of authors submitting articles in order to make sure that every submission is of the highest caliber.
- Translational Research: We are going to prioritize publication of articles that are of translational nature now – those that translate research and leadership insights into information that inspires action to reduce patient safety events which cause harm and suffering to patients AND caregivers.
- Multimedia and New Media: Because we will be vigilant about the first two initiatives, we will leverage multimedia and new channels such as social media networks to communicate our messages. We must, however, produce articles that are of extraordinary quality by traditional standards, or these media will be interpreted as promotional and diminish the core value of the content.
- Global Expansion: We will expand our quest for submissions beyond country borders and beyond our industry boundaries, as excellence knows no such limits. We are in a shrinking global community that needs to leverage every bit of innovation we can find … and communicate it as rapidly to all as fast as possible.
- Full Value Chain Focus: We will expand the domain of our focus to embrace the entire healthcare value chain throughout the entire channel of care: from suppliers through providers to purchasers. From suppliers who produce products, services, and technologies that they sell to caregivers and their facilities, who deliver care services, to private, government, and consumer purchasers, all own a piece of patient safety and need a voice to join the quality choir.
In a recent conversation with Dr. Lucian Leape, the father of the patient safety movement, he challenged us to make sure we emphasize the importance of hospital leaders. “They need to own patient safety,” and he underscored the critical nature of six focus areas in safety being pursued by the Lucian Leape Institute. These are medical education reform, active consumer engagement, transparency, integration of care, restoration of joy in our service, and safety of the healthcare workforce. (Dr. Lucian Leape, oral communication, January 10, 2011)
Care providers no longer can arrogantly believe that their science is better than that of their trading partners or that conflicts of interest only lie with suppliers and purchasers. We need to take the issue of conflicts of interest head-on and create safe harbors for collaboration, because technology suppliers and healthcare purchasers have a treasure trove of data we can use to save lives.
As we close the last decade and begin the next, we need to serve everyone from the servant leader at the front line – who, as Bob Chapman has said, “deserves to be treated with as much care as we treat our patients” (Robert Chapman, oral communication, January 11, 2011) – to the governance board member who needs to be equipped, not with all the right answers, but with the questions they need to ask to keep hospitals on course.
Our villains are not bad people, but bad systems. Our victims are both patients and caregivers. The crisis is clear and the resolution will happen with you: those of you who are humble enough to “learn global,” disciplined enough to “act,” and brave enough speak up and “be vocal.”
It is time – your time and the journal's time to build our bridge from awareness to action. We owe it to our families, our colleagues, and our patients.