Public Release: 

National and international experts, health industry leaders seek ways to reduce medical errors

Kupper Parker Communications

In a major initiative aimed at finding ways to reduce medical errors, health industry leaders will review what works and what doesn't at an upcoming National Symposium on Patient Safety. An eminent line-up of national and international experts speaking in Dallas at the June 28 through 30 symposium includes:

  • Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Forum for Health Care Quality Management and Reporting and former Undersecretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Charles E. Billings, MD, MSc, physician and one of the pioneers in aviation safety
  • Michael L. Millenson, author of Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age and former reporter for the Chicago Tribune
  • Julie Morath, PhD, RN, Chief Operating Officer of the Minneapolis Childrens' Hospital
  • Arnold S. Relman, MD, Editor Emeritus, New England Journal of Medicine and Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Registration Patient Care Assessment Committee
  • William B.Runciman, PhD, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Patient Safety Foundation
  • William M. Sage, MD, JD, physician and Columbia Law School professor and an expert on organizational accountability
  • Gordon Sprenger, MHA, Chief Executive Officer of the Allina Health System
  • David D. Woods, PhD, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Ohio State University, one of the leading thinkers on human factors and patient safety

Hosted by John Nance, ABC's aviation news analyst and frequent speaker on patient safety issues, the Symposium is expected to be one of the year's major conferences on patient safety issues drawing more than 750 health care leaders from diverse disciplines, including providers, consumers, clinicians and advocates united in their commitment to improving safety. Under the title "Building Systems That Do No Harm: Advancing Patient Safety through Partnership and Shared Knowledge," the meeting will focus on practical information that will increase the private sector's capability to implement change, improve health care delivery and reduce errors.

Other highlights of the Symposium include production of a multi-media case study that will examine a complex series of errors and recovery efforts in an obstetrical case. Drawn from real, closed claim files, this case will develop a number of safety learning principles that will be explored throughout the Symposium. A second case study will focus on the practical experiences of the Allina Healthcare System and the Minneapolis Children's Hospital in establishing patient safety as a core value and implementing comprehensive error reduction programs in every aspect of their operations.

Over the three days, speakers and participants will explore six specific themes:

  • Cultural obstacles that continue to impede organizational performance,
  • Innovations in technology, informatics, decision support and knowledge management systems that support organizational success,
  • Strategies for moving beyond blame-based safety policies to new models of learning and accountability,
  • Emerging patient safety challenges in outpatient settings,
  • The patient's role as true partner in risk reduction, and
  • International participation in the discussion of patient safety solutions.

The Symposium is being convened by the Partnership for Patient Safety (P4PS), a newly formed network that develops information, products and services that address patient safety, working together with the Medical Group Management Association, Premier, Inc., the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and VHA Inc. Additional sponsoring partners include the Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions, Marsh & McLennan, the National Business Coalition on Health.

The Symposium has been endorsed by the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, the Healthcare Leadership Council, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives and the University HealthSystem Consortium.

"This event represents an unprecedented collaboration among a wide range of partners who are committed to making patient safety and the reduction of errors a core organizational value," said Martin J. Hatlie, President of the Partnership for Patient Safety. "The highly complex and dynamic health care sector of today demands that we take a multi-disciplinary approach to this issue, one that focuses on improving systems and changing cultures by working together."


For registration information, please visit the Partnership for Patient Safety web site at, send an email to or call 312-953-0310.

Marty Hatlie, P4PS, 312-274-9695
Steve Littlejohn, KPC, 314-290-2024

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