Strategies for Protecting Patient Safety

September 12, 2003
Suffolk University Law School
Boston, MA

Conference Description:
The conference will take place at the Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts.

While breakthroughs in medicine and bioscience continue to fill both the front pages of newspapers and the evening news, the public is becoming increasingly aware of dramatic failures in patient safety. Tragedies seem to run in parallel course to advances in biomedicine.

Health care in the United States is not as safe as it should be. Medical errors account for thousands of lost lives and injuries each year. Many such deaths and injuries are preventable and result from the systemic failures or adopting the wrong plan of treatment. Along with deaths and injuries come losses in jobs, worker productivity, disruptions in family life and distrust of the health care system.

Coupled with human loss is the economic impact of medical error. Increases in hospital costs, repetition of diagnostic tests, counteractive therapies to correct medical wrongs, all have the effect of increasing direct costs and insurance premiums. Patients believe that they are protected. Apart from the dramatic cases reported in the news of mismatched organs and untested genetic therapies, consumers see licensure and clinical testing as providing a safety net without realizing that the cost to human life and economic loss to society are endemic to the present health care system. Unless corrected, acceptance of current levels of medical error will have the effect of lowering the standard of health care in the United States.

The purpose of this conference is to examine the causes of medical error in health care and to suggest system wide changes to break that cycle and to correct the damage done to health care in America by the decline in patient safety.

Who Should Attend?
Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Health Professionals, Clinical Research Directors
Hospital Executives
Managed care organizations Executives, Directors and Counsel
Public Health Officials
Insurance Executives and Risk Managers
Patientsí Advocates and Counsel
Accrediting Officials

Conference Objectives:
At the conclusion of this conference, attendees will better be able to:

  • Define the types of medical errors and other issues that affect patient safety
  • Recognize the quality concerns and heightened risks that exist for vulnerable populations
  • Identify the obstacles to addressing medical errors and quality in health care
  • Examine the roles of various constituencies in developing a structure to enhance patient safety