The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many shortfalls in our preparedness to respond to public health emergencies. It also revealed heroes across the healthcare system, and demonstrated our ability to quickly bring safe, effective and innovative therapies to patients in critical need.
This year, we have an opportunity to come together to address another critical public health issue – the persistent deficiencies in patient safety that put millions of people in our healthcare system at risk.
Despite some recent advances, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported in 2020 that patient safety remains a significant problem in our country.1 Unfortunately, many of the toughest issues we face have burdened our healthcare system for years.
Although they are not easy to solve, we know that with the right level of attention, resources and national resolve, far more can be done to protect the safety of people when they seek medical care. We should begin by prioritizing public policy changes that champion patient safety.
Two areas ripe for public policy improvements are the strengthening of vascular access standards, and reducing patient exposure to phthalates and other endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) found in many commonly used medical products.