ASN Launches Quality and Patient Safety Task Force

Advancing the quality of care and improving patient safety are two of the most important issues for healthcare professionals and policymakers alike. Reducing preventable injuries and illnesses in hospitals is now recognized not only to be an important goal from a patient perspective but also key to slowing the rising cost of care. Meanwhile, quality improvement initiatives—both voluntary and as a component of Medicare payment programs—are proliferating.

In concert with the growing attention to these issues, ASN recently established the ASN Quality and Patient Safety Task Force. The task force, chaired by Amy Williams, MD, is tasked with the following charge:
  1. Draft ASN’s response to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) “Choosing Wisely” Campaign.

  2. Identify current trends in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.

  3. Develop online tools to help nephrologists conduct quality improvement studies and improve patient safety.

  4. Raise ASN member awareness of quality and patient safety issues and the resources available to help address them, including the development of a “quality” abstract category at ASN Kidney Week.

  5. Consider opportunities for alignment with the Department of Health and Human Services “Partnership for Patients” initiative.

The task force’s first major initiative is to participate in the ABIM’s “Choosing Wisely” campaign, which is focused on the concept that more care is not necessarily high-quality care, and in some cases excess tests, procedures, or prescriptions can lead to patient harm.

“As medical professionals, we are entrusted by our patients and society to provide quality care that is evidence based, safe, and achieves the best outcomes,” said task force chair Amy Williams, MD. “Managing the explosion of medical knowledge, increasing complexity of clinical care, and new external pressures demanding innovative, effective, and efficient care models to achieve benchmarks and quality standards can be confusing and overwhelming. The goal of this task force is to provide tools and guidance to meet the expectations of delivering safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable care to all patients with kidney disease in an environment of constant change as well as to develop partnerships with CMS, ABIM and other governing bodies to appropriately influence change to improve the value of care delivered.”

Besides Dr. Williams and Council Liaison Ron Falk, MD, FASN, the task force is comprised of 10 members, each representing one of ASN’s 10 advisory groups (Table 1).

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October-November 2011 (Vol. 3, Number 10 & 11)