Even though medical harm is prevalent nationwide, experts and advocates struggle to increase awareness about patient safety risks and spark support for effective solutions. The Betsy Lehman Center is partnering with— a D.C.-based nonprofit that uses research to shape public discourse on social and scientific issues — to change how people think and talk about this important public health issue.
There is a noticeable gap between the way experts think about how best to improve the safety of health care and the understanding of the general public — and many health care professionals — about the challenges and solutions to the problem of medical error across the country.
People have difficulty understanding patient safety challenges because of the way they think about medicine — including human error, the role of systems in health outcomes and decision-making. These commonly-held assumptions lead to a consistent underestimation of the problem of safety, impede public engagement with large scale solutions, and ultimately inhibit improvements in patient safety.
When communicating about patient safety, organizations and advocates need to:
Two metaphors are particularly productive ways to talk about patient safety:
'Message memo' outlines the new hows and whys of communicating effectively about patient safety
FrameWorks Institutes’ methods for improving communication about complex topics are unique and effective. CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor explains.