A National Program to Partner Healthcare and Systems Engineering Researchers: the AHRQ Patient Safety Learning Labs

Research Category: Interdisciplinary Topics, Centers and Institutes
Presenter: Nicole Nehls
Additional Authors: Basma Bargal, David W. Bates, Sara Singer, Russell Phillips, James C. Benneyan
PI: James C. Benneyan

Patient safety problems and errors in the U.S. are of major concern as estimates of 2 million injuries, 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections, 8.7 million hospital days, and 180,000 deaths occur annually resulting in an estimated $8.8 billion in annual healthcare costs. While several patient safety improvement efforts have been made during the past two decades, numerous challenges remain unsolved and unimproved. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently funded 19 interdisciplinary Patient Safety Learning Lab (PSLL) centers to test new approaches, methods, and theories for solving complex patient safety problems. Northeastern University’s Healthcare Systems Engineering Institute (HSyE) has been awarded 3 of these 19 total center grants, based on their leadership in applying system engineering methods to healthcare improvement. One Center is partnered with Brigham and Women’s Hospital to design safer healthcare IT systems that will identify, assess, and reduce patient safety threats resulting in actual harm. The second Center, the Engineering High Reliability Learning Lab (EHRLL) is a collaboration between the Harvard School of Public Health and four Boston-area systems to improve primary-specialty coordination and overall patient safety at these critical junctures in care. The third Center is also partnered with Brigham and Women’s Hospital to minimize diagnostic errors and strive for timely and effective delivery of care. This poster will summarize each Center, the different nature of projects, results, and lessons learned. Each of the centers has produced rich research eco-systems engaging experts from diverse fields, as well as new research problems and funding streams.