Journalism in the Public Interest

Health Care, Patient Safety

What Are Top Patient Safety Challenges Facing Providers?

(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Welcome to our series of discussions aimed at exploring patient safety from the perspective of health care professionals.

About five months ago, as part of our ongoing reporting on patient safety, we started a Facebook group for our readers who had suffered harm while undergoing medical care. The goals were to create connections, share stories and discuss what might be done about the ongoing problem of infections, injuries and mistakes. We’ve highlighted why patients rarely report errors (and obstacles when they do), legal options and financial consequences of suffering harm. And our members have shared their stories.

But much of the conversation so far has stemmed from the experiences of patients and family members. Now we aim to find out what providers think.

Do medical professionals really believe that one in four patients suffer some type of harm? Who or what do they think is responsible for the persistent problem? What’s the typical process at hospitals after a patient suffers harm? And what’s it like when providers are involved in an incident where a patient is harmed?

Over the next few days, we’ll be inviting a series of care providers to respond to these issues on Branch, a new platform for online conversation. We chose Branch because it encourages focused and intimate conversation; Branches are public – but only approved participants can contribute. And we hope that a range of providers – nurses, EMTs, techs, doctors – will contribute.

Embedded below is our latest discussion question. If you have a Twitter account, you just click Ask To Join; the first thing you should do after we approve you is post.

If you would like to participate in future discussions on patient safety, please fill out our provider questionnaire . It asks for your contact information and area of expertise, and is the easiest way for us to keep track of potential participants. You can also sign up for health care updates in the ProPublica Reporting Network to be notified of future discussions, and ways to get involved. 

Check back here every day between now and next Wednesday for the day’s in the coming days for new discussion questions. And if you’re not available to Branch with us, but still have a story to share, fill out our questionnaire for providers. Your input will help inform our reporting.  

Question 1: Who or what is responsible for ongoing patient harm? Participants include Dr. Thomas Lee, Paul Levy, Dr. David Brown and @PalMD, amongst others.


How To Sign Into Branch

Did you request to be added to our Branch by email? Don't have a Twitter account? Here's a step-by-step guide to how to sign up.

If you've emailed Blair asking to join the Branch, keep an eye out for an email from ProPublica with the subject line "Who or what is responsible for ongoing patient harm?” After you open it, click Respond.

Once you're on Branch, you do have have to verify your identity with Twitter. Click on “I don’t have a Twitter account” underneath the blue button. 


 And finally: click on “Create a new Branch account.” This will allow you to select a username and password.

 Once you’re in, you can also add colleagues to the conversation by clicking on +Add (1).

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