ACP: Recommendations for Improving Patient Safety in Ambulatory Settings

Team-based care models, such as the patient-centered medical home, should be encouraged and optimized
Team-based care models, such as the patient-centered medical home, should be encouraged and optimized

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has released a new policy paper which includes recommendations on improving patient safety in the outpatient setting. The paper, Patient Safety in the Office-Based Practice Setting is available online

"Patient safety is an issue of critical importance across healthcare settings," said Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president, ACP. "Medical errors that happen outside of the hospital are just as important to prevent."  

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Specific recommendations include:

  • Promoting a culture of patient safety within the practice and among colleagues. Safety goals should be embedded in daily activities and medical error reporting efforts should encourage accuracy, confidentiality, and compliance.
  • Conducting research and work to address physician stress, burnout, and organizational culture that may impact medical errors.
  • Educating the public about asking the right questions; materials should reflect the linguistic and cultural characteristics of the audience.
  • Continuing research into and development of a comprehensive collection of standardized patient safety metrics and strategies.
  • Team-based care models should be encouraged and optimized.
  • Health information technology systems should be tailored to emphasize patient safety improvement.
  • Establishment of a national entity to prevent patient harm across the healthcare sector.

"It is important for physicians and other clinicians and policymakers to embrace and facilitate a culture of safety, where errors are reported, discussed, and addressed without fear of discovery," the authors stated. "Further, as interventions are developed, they must be implemented across the care continuum and in a manner that minimizes unnecessary administrative tasks and systems that aggravate physician stress and lead to burnout." 

For more information visit ACPonline.org.