Healthcare Needs its Own "National Transportation and Safety Board," Experts Say

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Healthcare experts and consumer safety advocates have called for a healthcare-equivalent to the National Transportation and Safety Board, according to an article published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

The authors include Charles R. Denham, MD, founder and chairman of the Texas Medical Institute of Technology; US Airways Flight 1549 pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger; actor-turned-patient safety advocate Dennis Quaid, whose twins were victims of healthcare harm; and aviation safety expert John J. Nance.

 



In the article, the authors point to key similarities between the healthcare and aviation industries, including inherently high risks and complexity, dependence on human performance factors and links between quality performance and adherence to basic industry principles. They also call for a "NTSB for healthcare" — an independent agency that, like the NTSB, views every death as a preventable occurrence. When it concludes investigations of aviation accidents, the NTSB issues "Blue Cover Reports" on its findings and recommendations.

The authors said a healthcare-equivalent to the transportation board could issue similar reports and help bridge the divide between litigation against healthcare providers and meaningful changes for patient safety.

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