Safe Patient Summit inspires patient safety advocates

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This week, Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project brought 31 energized advocates from across the U.S. to the 7th annual Safe Patient summit November 12-14, with a day of presentations at Consumer Reports headquarters in Yonkers, NY. The summit provided a rare opportunity for talented advocates from 17 states to network and share ideas face-to-face in a productive and friendly setting. Many of us have known each other for years, and some people were meeting for the first time.

Johns Hopkins surgeon and author of Unaccountable

We had an excellent lineup of speakers with varied backgrounds. We heard presentations by Dr. John Santa and Tara Montgomery with Consumers Reports’ Health Ratings Center, Consumer Reports’ Wikipedian in Residence, Lane Rasberry, Dr. Marty Makary, author of the book Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care, Jill Arnold with and investigative journalist, Marshall Allen, with ProPublica. You can check out our presentation tweets on Storify.

We learned a great deal from each other that will help us move the patient safety consumer movement forward. Advocates made presentations about their patient safety work in their states and nationally. Yanling Yu talked about the nonprofit she formed, Washington Advocates for Patient Safety in honor of her father who died from a medication error.

Yanling Yu, Washington Advocates for Patient Safety

Kim Witczak, a dedicated drug safety advocate who lost her husband Woody, presented on her upcoming Selling Sickness conference in February 2013 in DC. Joleen Chambers exposed the patient harm from failed implanted medical devices, which left her brother disabled. Near the end of the summit, we heard a round-table discussion about advocates who are educating nursing and medical students about medical harm from the patient’s perspective.

We were deeply pleased by the energy and passion felt at our summit as we shared information and ideas about our work to eliminate medical harm. We expect a great array of activity on patient safety in the coming year.