Massachusetts public health officials today opened a center dedicated to improving patient safety and decreasing errors, naming it after a Boston columnist whose death nearly nine years ago drew attention to fatal flaws in the processes of hospital care long before the Institute of Medicine got to it.
The Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction, created by law nearly a year ago, is intended to serve as a clearinghouse for the development, evaluation and dissemination of education and training programs on best practices for safety and error reduction.
The center also will coordinate efforts of different state agencies in those areas. The state plans to appoint an ombudsman for the center to help patients file complaints and to act as a mediator in situations where patients and their families claim to be victims of a medical error.
Lehman was killed in 1994 at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute by chemotherapy overdoses.