Geisinger physicians develop patient safety program to end preventable deaths

Physicians with the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in Scranton, Pa., co-chaired a task force that has created a patient safety curriculum, according to

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Assistant Chair for Internal Medicine Margrit Shoemaker, MD, and Commonwealth School of Medicine President/Dean Steven Scheinman, MD, co-chaired the task force.

The program includes eight domains considered essential to patient safety, with a focus on teamwork and communication.

"[Teamwork and communication] have impact on all other domains. They are ubiquitous across the field of patient safety," Dr. Shoemaker said.

"Some people have estimated that 80 percent of medical errors arise from poor communication," Dr. Scheinman added.

The program will educate healthcare providers, those training to be providers and the people teaching them on teamwork and communication strategies.

"Our concept is that this curriculum, since it is so adaptable, will be used by schools of pharmacy, schools of nursing as well as schools of medicine across the country and by clinical systems like Geisinger," Dr. Scheinman said.

The physicians aim to move closer to a goal of zero preventable deaths by adapting a patient safety culture in the workplace.

"We don't have the luxury of waiting until our students run healthcare. We just lose too many patients per year to wait for that," Dr. Shoemaker said.

The physicians are traveling to events across the country to promote the curriculum.

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