How the IDSA Patient Safety Task Force wants to tackle U.S. medical errors


Sean Hägen

The IDSA Patient Safety Task Force has given itself a critical mission to solve the “medical error crisis” in the United States. The task force proposes to engage in strategic problem solving through creative system design, UX and the visual communication skills of industrial designers.

Sean Hägen – who chairs the task force and IDSA’s Medical Special Interest Section and serves as Sections VP on IDSA’s Board of Directors – recently gave a webinar to describe how he and other task force members envision producing measurable change.

The mission statement is straightforward: The IDSA Patient Safety Task Force is to design a multifaceted strategic plan to enable healthcare service providers to minimize medical error, or preventable iatrogenic adverse events, in the United States – ultimately impacting global healthcare. The task force will propose to the IDSA Board a strategy that leverages industrial design methods for systems design and visualizes how strategic initiatives will impact the healthcare industry once implemented.

Hägen noted during the webinar that measurable change is going to start small. “We don’t have to boil the ocean,” he said. “The enormity of the problem is the problem.”

However, Hägen believes that the task force can make a difference by visually demonstrating to the health care community that it is possible to improve the situation significantly and that this should be task force’s primary role.

Hägen said that IDSA shouldn’t try to solve the entirety of the problem. “We are not the appropriate organization – there are too many problems, and they are too complex.”

The interdependent nature of medicine will mean a cooperative approach is necessary. However, he stated that IDSA’s role is to enable change in the greater design community with the awareness, opportunity, and tools to make a significant impact on the problem. The task force wants to illuminate the design challenges and associated stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem

The Task Force outlined its strategic plan as follows:

• Illuminate the contextual challenges of the hospital;
• Develop IDSA reference materials;
• Develop and maintain a hospital ecosystem map;
• Provide the design community with the opportunity to demonstrate potential solutions;
• Stakeholder summits and workshops;
• Grant collaborations.

Hägen also stated the group is collaborating with FDA, Joint Commission, and CQuIPS.

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