IHI's Dr. Tejal Gandhi: 'We have to address safety with a total systems approach'

In a recent interview with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement blog, Tejal Gandhi, MD, the new chief clinical and safety officer with IHI, said a total systems approach to patient safety is the future of the movement.

Dr. Gandhi officially joined IHI June 1 after the National Patient Safety Foundation merged with the organization. She was previously president and CEO of NPSF.

Here are three quotes from Dr. Gandhi from the IHI blog interview on a systems approach to patient safety.

Stop thinking piece by piece: "We have to address safety with a total systems approach, as opposed to the piecemeal, initiative-by-initiative method common today — 'Let's do infections,' 'Let's do medication reconciliation,' 'Let's do surgical checklists.' We must address the foundational areas that are going to raise all boats," she said.

Total systems is the future: "Shifting to a holistic, total systems approach to our safety mission, with a spotlight on leadership and culture, is the direction we're heading. And really using IHI's expertise in the areas of leadership and culture, as well as in systems thinking in quality improvement and implementation, will facilitate putting ideas into practice."

Approaching patient safety as a public health issue: "[I]t's recognition that we have to collaborate and, again, start from a total systems perspective. This is not a problem that individual hospitals working individually are going to solve. We need a national set of goals, metrics and interventions identified in a unified national initiative. And we have models of successful national public health campaigns: think about seat belts or bicycle helmets."

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