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Quality Update - What an Idea!

Fall 2009

What an Idea!

Date: October 15, 2009

Health care "consumers" and providers come together to design a safer health care system.

One by one, they rise and speak.

A mother tells of her son who died from a reaction to steroids, although she had alerted doctors to his allergy. Another mother relates how a physician ignored her concerns about a vaginal delivery that caused her infant’s fatal brain injury. A young woman recounts the failure of doctors to diagnose her ruptured appendix.

These stories of breakdowns in the nation’s health care system supplied the emotional fuel required for 50 clinicians, policymakers and “consumers” who gathered at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in March to take steps toward safer, more patient-centered care.  

Facilitated by Chicago-based nonprofit Consumers Advancing Patient Safety,  the two-and-a-half-day event brought  consumer participants and health care  professionals from Maryland and other states together on a level playing field.

The partnership produced a variety of action plans for involving patients and their families in the health care system as a way to make it safer.

Proposals emerged in such areas as improving community outreach about patient safety and involving patients and family members in reporting and investigating adverse events.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital has already taken steps to implement several of the proposals, including plans for placing consumers on relevant hospital committees and designing safer methods for discharge planning and transitions of care.

Read more about the workshop, the recommendations and actions taken at