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America’s Essential Hospitals, Other Groups Release Patient Safety Action Plan

September 14, 2020


WASHINGTON—America’s Essential Hospitals and more than 20 other advocates and federal agencies today announced an action plan on patient safety that promotes evidence-based practices, patient and family engagement, continuous learning, and other strategies.

The document, Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety, represents the work of 27 organizations and federal agencies on a national steering committee convened in 2018 by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

The plan draws on evidence-based practices, widely known and effective interventions, exemplar case examples, and recent innovations. Its content and recommendations center on four foundational areas that broadly impact safety across the continuum of care: culture, leadership, and governance; patient and family engagement; workforce safety; and learning systems.

The steering committee emphasizes health equity in the action plan, including in its vision and principles. The plan recognizes that systemic racism and other societal inequities can cause harm to concentrate in certain populations, and it calls for using safety data to identify gaps related to social determinants of health, such as housing and food insecurity, and other measures.

“Our hospitals care for people who face severe social and economic hardships and deeply rooted inequities that impact health and health care,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. “It is critical we account for these social determinants and focus on the ways racism and disparities contribute to preventable medical harm.”

The plan includes implementation tactics, case examples, tools, and other resources to help hospitals and other health care organizations act on the recommendations and achieve progress in each of the four foundational areas. It also includes two supplements: a self-assessment tool and implementation resource guide.

“We are proud to have participated in the steering committee’s work and applaud IHI and our colleagues on the committee for keeping patient safety a national priority,” Siegel said.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals

America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at

Carl Graziano

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