This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.
Published: April 14, 2010

Center also works to improve patient safety

Dear Editor:

Allow me to share my thoughts on the article “Designation gives UB role in improving patient safety, reducing medical errors” that appeared in the April 7 issue of the UB Reporter.

First of all, I am delighted to learn that UB’s Medication Management Research Network (MMRN) has been designated as a Patient Safety Organization (PSO) by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Congratulations!

However, I must point out that UB has long had a role in improving patient safety and reducing medical errors through the UB Patient Safety Research Center, of which I have the privilege of being the founding director.

We came into existence in 2001 as result of the foresight of Dr. Thomas Rosenthal, chair of the Department of Family Medicine, and the subsequent support of Dr. Michael Cain, dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. We have been continuously funded by AHRQ since 2005.

One is ethically obliged to point out that the fragmentation of the health care system at the national and individual health organization levels is one of the most significant contributors to the enormous gap in the provision of safety for patients. The 50 percent chasm in the U.S. between what the health care industry can provide and what it actually delivers is a prime manifestation of this fragmentation.

A great research university like UB should not fall into this chasm, wherein the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. I am therefore grateful to the UB Reporter for putting the readers, like me, in the vital communication loop.

UB Reporter readers would be interested in knowing how this PSO will accept error reports and for what types of events. Most importantly, assurances are needed for potential error reports about the confidentiality and safety against disclosure, as well as evidence of MMRN’s experience and ability to adequately deal with the error reports, as stipulated by the 2005 Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act, and as called for by the act’s administrator and registrar (AHRQ).

We at the UB Patient Safety Research Center are delighted to welcome this PSO to the fold of patient safety and are looking forward to working with it. I would be letting down the great team at the UB Patient Safety Research Center if I did not share the fact that our work is nationally and internationally known, as evidenced by the number of invited presentations and publications by the team members. A visit to our Web site should give readers some idea of our work. Readers of the UB Reporter are welcome to contact us and share their experiences and views.

Gurdev Singh
UB Patient Safety Research Center