An American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) patient safety symposium produced valuable teachings on improving patient safety and reducing medical error. This symposium featured presentations by ophthalmic leaders from around the world and roundtable discussions. This report summarizes the presentations given and lists suggestions made to improve patient safety in ophthalmology.
Suggestions for Individual Ophthalmologists and Their Practices
- Leverage advances in technology that are available to you to enhance knowledge and performance:
- Analyze personal practice information gathered from the IRIS Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight) (currently U.S. only) and consider instituting changes.
- When possible, move from clinical guidelines to action by introducing alerts or reminders into electronic health records (EHRs), for example, in the form of pop-up boxes to indicate that the patient has diabetes and needs a dilated exam.
- Continue to use the Academy’s recommendations to incorporate procedures for the prevention of wrong-patient, wrong-site, and wrong-implant errors in both medical and surgical settings.
- Enhance patient understanding of procedures to bring about patient outcome expectations that are more realistic.
- Recognize how patient safety issues are affected by different health care settings and modify practice procedures accordingly to better match the setting.
Suggestions for the Academy and Other Organizations
- Encourage decision makers to foster a “blame-free culture” to report not only medical errors but also “near misses.”
- Encourage a “culture of safety” beginning with medical school education and continuing through residency, fellowship, and practice, and create a practical and comprehensive patient safety curriculum for trainees.