American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®


Patient safety is focus of new Annual Session courses

From the March ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright 2002 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

By Jason van Steenburgh

The College is beefing up its efforts to help internists improve patient safety with five new courses at this year's Annual Session in Philadelphia.

The courses will give Annual Session attendees practical information on how to prevent and cope with errors in both the hospital and office setting. The courses, which are listed below in chronological order, focus on topics ranging from ethical concerns to using computer systems to prevent mistakes.

  • Improving Patient Safety and Reducing Medical Errors in the Hospital will feature two panelists from the University of California, San Francisco. They will examine how to redesign hospital systems to correct a common diagnostic error: a missed diagnosis of acute cardiac ischemia. The session will take place Thursday, April 11, from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

  • Patient Safety: The Other Side of the Quality Equation will feature three panelists discussing the College's efforts to improve patient safety. The session will also examine how internists can apply patient safety principles to ambulatory care. The session will be held on Thursday, April 11, from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m.

  • Ethical Challenges: Medical Errors will examine medical errors from an ethical perspective. The discussion will examine such issues as how to apply the ethical principle, "Do no harm," when physicians have unintentionally harmed a patient through an error. The session will also define what constitutes harm and how to identify instances when physicians are obliged to disclose their errors. The session will be offered on Friday, April 12, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

  • Using Computers to Prevent Errors in Medicine is a meet-the-professor session that will focus on how to use computerized information to prevent mistakes. The speaker will discuss how physicians can use technology to reduce medication errors and present evidence proving that technology can help prevent mistakes. The session will be held on Saturday, April 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  • Prevention of Medical Errors in Ambulatory Practice will feature two speakers examining medical errors in the outpatient setting. The speakers will identify typical errors that occur during diagnosis and the review of diagnostic tests, as well as strategies to prevent errors in office-based practice. This session will take place on Saturday, April 13, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

The new Annual Session courses are part of the College's effort to help internists improve patient safety in their practices. Late last year, ACP-ASIM was awarded a grant by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop patient safety courses.

Patient Safety Training
Internists discuss patient safety techniques at a training session where they prepared to present courses on patient safety at the College's chapter meetings.


Earlier this winter, the College began training internists to present patient safety courses at ACP-ASIM chapter meetings. College chapters began offering the first patient safety courses at their meetings last month.

The College is looking for more internists who want to teach colleagues about best practices in patient safety. To participate, you'll need to attend training sessions at College headquarters in July.

If you're interested, or if you'd like more information about the College's safety courses, call Kyle Bartlett, PhD, at 800-523-1546, ext. 2838.


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