May 24, 2019
Experts look to technology to address third-leading cause of U.S. deaths: medical error
CLEVELAND— The dean of Ursuline College’s Breen School of Nursing is co-chairing an international conference on improving patient safety that is expected to draw some 500 attendees from around the world.
Patricia Sharpnack, DNP, said the “QSEN Rocks” conference May 29-31 at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, “presents an excellent opportunity for leaders in nursing education and practice to gather and share ways to improve health-care systems, and ways to better prepare students for the reality of health care.”
QSEN (Quality and Safety Education for Nurses) was founded at Case Western Reserve University in 2005 with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, before transitioning to a university-supported institute in 2012.
Conference co-chair Mary Dolansky, PhD, said nurses are poised to take the lead on ensuring patient safety in an American health care system where they already make up 35% of the workforce.
“Medical error is already the third-leading cause of death in the United States,” said Dolansky, citing a 2016 British Medical Journal paper reporting that medical errors trailed only heart disease and cancer as killers. “The workload and complexity of the work for nurses has skyrocketed, and we are taking the lead in addressing errors head-on, for the benefit of the patient.”
The conference will examine the role of technology in improving health care and patient safety. The conference will also emphasize informatics, or “the science of how to use data, information and knowledge to improve human health and the delivery of health-care services,” according to the American Medical Informatics Association.
“The Institute of Medicine has said we can improve health care through six specific things, and technology or informatics is one of those six—an area where we can really make an impact,” said Dolansky, an associate professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. “It’s technology which drives behavior and ensures quality.”
The education component of the conference will “inspire a renewed commitment to evidence-based practice for the benefit of patients,” Sharpnack said.
Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder will give opening remarks, with several other speakers scheduled during the three-day conference, including:
- Patricia Flatley Brennan, director of the National Library of Medicine and former Case Western Reserve faculty member
- Mary Fey, associate director at the Institute for Medical Simulation at the Center for Medical Simulation in Boston
- Peter Pronovost, chief clinical transformation officer at University Hospitals Health System