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In September 2004, Trustee magazine and the Health Research & Educational Trust surveyed a panel of CEOs, board chairs, and a wider set of board members on the important topic of patient safety. The findings below are based upon a set of 196 responses. Fifty-seven percent of respondents were board members, 27% were CEOs, and 16% were board chairs. Almost half (48%) of respondents had more than five years of experience in their current positions, and 41% of respondents represented facilities with fewer than 100 beds.
Patient Safety as Agenda Item
Sixty-two percent of respondents indicated that patient safety is a regular agenda item at board meetings. An additional 24% indicated that while not regularly on the agenda, regular formal reports on patient safety were given to the board. Fewer than 6% of the respondents reported that patient safety was not a regular agenda item or the subject of regular reports.
Patient Safety Reports
Regarding patient safety-related reports that the board sees on a regular basis, more than 70% of the respondents indicated that their board saw reports on sentinel events and recommendations for improvement in patient safety. Although no other category was reported by more than 50% of the respondents, “near misses” were indicated by 48%. Only 8% of respondents reported not seeing any specific information on patient safety.
Board Education and Patient Safety
Two-thirds (66%) of respondents indicated that there had been board education on both patient safety and medication errors. Only 19% indicated that there was no such education on either topic. The most common sources of this education were hospital or system administration (88%) and hospital or system medical staff (41%).
Trends in Attention to Patient Safety and Current Needs of Board
Eighty-one percent of respondents indicated that there has been more attention paid to patient safety by their board in the last three years. A majority of respondents indicated that they would like additional information or education in their role as a health care provider or board member in the areas of health care quality improvement (72%), physician relations (60%), patient safety (60%), and new information technology for health care (55%).
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