Launched this week by the Betsy Lehman Center, peer support is now available to anyone in Massachusetts whose work relates to patient care. The Virtual Peer Support Network matches health workers to trained peers when they need help coping with the emotional effects of workplace experiences. “Connecting with a peer supporter won’t fix all the problems,” says Linda Kenney, Director of Peer Support at the Betsy Lehman Center. “But it provides a safe way to express feelings with someone who understands.” Individuals can seek help from the Network or volunteer to be trained as a peer supporter. Organizations can sign on to promote the Network in their workplaces as a new resource for employees.

Kirsten Meisinger, M.D., M.H.C.D.S., talks about state and national plans to engage the health workers and the systemic barriers that make it harder to deliver best care. She draws on her experience as Director of Provider Engagement at Cambridge Health Alliance, Medical Director of CHA’s Union Square Family Health, a consultant to U.S. and international efforts to transform health systems, and a practicing family medicine physician, to suggest bold changes.

“The National Plan is well-constructed; in fact, I think it can form the basis of a movement, which is what I think we need now. We do have the power to make different choices, many of which will represent a big shift in how everything happens day-to-day in health care.” — Kirsten Meisinger

Each year, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality compiles a comprehensive view of trends in the quality of health care received by Americans and disparities in care according to race, age, gender, income, community size and other factors. The 2022 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report is the first in the series to analyze the effects of COVID-19 on the population and the health system, including a decline in life expectancy, with disproportionate effect on communities of color.

Upcoming events
December 4 - 7
IHI Forum [in-person]. The annual Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Forum, which brings together health care professionals working on quality and safety improvement, will be held in Orlando, FL. Register here
December 8
12 - 1:45 p.m.
The Health Care Workforce Crisis. Live web event from NEJM Catalyst featuring an interactive Q&A with executives, educators and researchers to offer innovative, whole-organization strategies. Register here
December 13 - 15
IHI Forum [online]. A virtual version of the IHI Forum will bring both live and on-demand sessions with improvement experts and keynote speakers. Register here
Patient Safety Beat is published by the Betsy Lehman Center, a Massachusetts state agency that supports providers, patients and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of health care.