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 Gary S. Kaplan, MD
Gary S. Kaplan, MD

SEATTLE — (Sept. 14, 2020) — Virginia Mason today joins with other members of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)-convened National Steering Committee for Patient Safety (NSC) to announce the release of a National Action Plan that provides health systems renewed momentum and clearer direction for eliminating preventable medical harm.

Titled “Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety,” the plan draws from evidence-based practices, widely known and effective interventions, exemplar case examples, and newer innovations. The initiative is the work of 27 federal agencies, safety organizations and experts, and patient and family advocates, first brought together in 2018 by IHI, a global leader in health and health care improvement. This national call to action reflects consensus on the need for broader collaboration and a greater focus on foundational change to further reduce medical errors.

“We are proud to join with the 26 other organizations that have contributed to this National Action Plan,” said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD, who chairs the IHI Lucian Leape Institute and served on the National Steering Committee for this important work. “At Virginia Mason, patient safety is the foundation for everything we do.”

The knowledge and recommendations in the National Action Plan center on four foundational areas deliberately chosen for their widespread impact on patient safety:

  1. Culture, Leadership, and Governance: The imperative for leaders, governance bodies, and policymakers to demonstrate and foster deeply held professional commitments to safety as a core value and promote the development of cultures of safety.
  2. Patient and Family Engagement: The spread of authentic patient and family engagement; the practice of co-designing and co-producing care with patients, families, and care partners to ensure their meaningful partnership in all aspects of care design, delivery, and operations.
  3. Workforce Safety: The commitment to the safety and fortification of the health care workforce as a necessary precondition to advancing patient safety; the need to work towards a unified, total system perspective and approach to eliminate harm to both patients and the workforce.
  4. Learning System: The establishment of networked and continuous learning; forging learning systems within and across health care organizations at the local, regional, and national levels to encourage widespread sharing, learning, and improvement.

To help health care organizations immediately act on the recommendations and achieve progress across the four foundational areas, the plan provides implementation tactics, case examples, tools and resources.

“The way in which diverse groups and patient advocates who are interested in patient safety came together to forge the National Action Plan is unprecedented, and it underscores the necessity to work together to create the safest health care possible,” said NSC Co-Chair Jeffrey Brady, MD, MPH, who directs the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. “Over the past 20 years, the field has amassed a tremendous body of knowledge to improve health care safety. What’s been missing is the use of this knowledge for more coordinated action. That’s what we want to rectify.”
About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; Virginia Mason Foundation; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management method for improving quality and safety.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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