Calling all young healthcare professionals!

Now is the time to shape the future of health care and create healthcare system that reflects your values.

Establish a National Patient Safety Board to Reduce Medical Error and Save Lives

Americans suffer dramatic consequences from preventable medical errors and catastrophes.

  • COVID-19 illustrated the United States’ need to improve safety in our health systems by the slow and uncoordinated response that has led to over 700,000 deaths with rates much higher than other wealthy countries.
  • Prior to the pandemic, medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the United States, contributing to a quarter-million deaths per year[1] and incalculable amounts of suffering.

Despite vast amounts of data being collected via the nation’s $30 billion investment in electronic health records, the United States has failed to apply its extraordinary technology and information systems to effectively protect its patients and healthcare workers from harm. Previous efforts to improve processes and change behavior at healthcare’s frontline have been decentralized and have not been successful. The nation’s anonymous data can be harnessed using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to promptly identify the conditions that precede medical errors, prevent future harms to patients, and save lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the consequences of the absence of a single independent federal agency entrusted with the responsibility to ensure a coordinated, well-researched, and rapid response to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety.

Other industries offer a clear roadmap for improved safety. The transportation industry has dramatically advanced safety through the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the independent federal agency that studies the deadliest accidents and recommends national solutions to prevent incidents from happening again. This agency offers an ideal translatable model for addressing errors in medical care.

The federal government has a moral imperative to use all available resources to reduce patient harms resulting from medical errors.

A National Patient Safety Advocacy Coalition has joined together to urge action, with stakeholders representing:

  • health systems and hospitals,
  • consumers,
  • health plans,
  • patient safety groups,
  • employers and other purchasers of health care,
  • technology companies,
  • foundations, and
  • universities.

This Coalition is calling on U.S. Congress to prioritize patient safety and support the establishment of an independent, non-punitive National Patient Safety Board modeled after the NTSB to:

  • Monitor preventable errors in health care,
  • Study the most dangerous and frequent adverse events,
  • Recommend solutions for anticipating and preventing future adverse events, and
  • Prepare for and respond to unforeseen health crises, like pandemics.

Patients and healthcare providers must be protected against the devastating harms associated with medical errors and global threats to health, and the federal government has an established model and access to vast sources of data to identify solutions and save lives.

Join the Coalition in urging Congress to address the preventable deaths associated with medical error and pandemics by prioritizing creation of a National Patient Safety Board.

[1] Makary, M, et al. (2016). Medial Error—The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US. BMJ, 353 (i2139). Available at