Patient Safety in Today’s Healthcare Environment


Identifying and correcting latent conditions leading to error in today’s complex healthcare environment is no easy task. This two-day course leads students to understanding these concepts through practical, reality-based case studies culminating in a simulated disclosure of an adverse event to a patient’s family. The applicability to healthcare of safety management principles derived from other highly complex industries will be covered, as well as certain “need-to-know” topics such as the California “Never-28” Events, the CMS “No-Pay” conditions, and the National Patient Safety Goals. The role of leadership in establishing a safety culture, as well as the legal ramifications of safety reporting and disclose, will be covered. There is also a strong emphasis on the role of communication in mitigating human error within complex environments. Through a variety of classroom exercises, including a case study, videos, and simulation, class participants will develop an understanding of the underlying principles through active problem-solving and role-playing. Students are therefore expected to actively participate in this learning experience.

What You Will Learn:
  • Understand how latent conditions within a complex healthcare environment can lead to an adverse event resulting from human error
  • Know the four elements of a safety management system, understand how they directly apply to healthcare, and be able to give at least one example of each
  • Know the California “Never-28” Events, the CMS “No-Pay” conditions, and the National Patient Safety Goals; be able to give at least one example of each
  • Understand the California Department of Public Health’s Patient Safety Licensing Survey and how it affects your organization
  • Understand the difference between a root cause analysis (RCA) and a failure modes and effects criticality analysis (FMECA); know the key elements of an FMECA
  • Understand the role of leadership – especially that of the CEO – in patient safety; know at least two things a senior manager can do to positively affect patient safety within the healthcare organization
  • Know the definition of safety culture and understand the relationship between culture and safety performance
  • Know at least three factors affecting the effectiveness of communication; understand how ineffective communication can lead to error in healthcare settings
  • Understand the basic legal concepts regarding patient safety and adverse event disclosure; know at least two ways in which these principles differ from those of malpractice litigation
  • Understand the role of patient safety efforts within the new healthcare reform legislation; be able to list at least three ways in which patient safety practices will affect the fiscal performance of a healthcare organization
Who should attend:
  • Healthcare CEOs
  • Governance board members
  • C-Suite officers
  • Patient safety officers
  • Quality assurance/compliance officers
  • Residency directors
  • Risk managers
  • Nurse managers
  • Pharmacists
Instructor Bio

USC COURSE DIRECTOR
Sunita Saxena, MD, MHA
Patient Safety Officer
LA County-USC Healthcare Network

GUEST FACULTY
Gregg A. Bendrick, MD
Chief Medical Officer
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

GUEST FACULTY
Gretchen L. Sanderson, JD
United Airlines Captain (Ret.)
Attorney at Law

Dr. Sunita Saxena is the Patient Safety Officer for LA County+USC Healthcare Network, and Medical Director of the network’s Comprehensive Health Center laboratories. She has also served as a Professor of Clinical Pathology at the USC Keck School of Medicine. In 2002, as chair of the Patient Safety Committee, Dr. Saxena developed the network’s Patient Safety Program and created the Patient Safety Employee Education Program, which was later adopted as a model by the LA County Department of Health Services (LAC-DHS). By implementing key initiatives such as the Patient Safety Telephone Hotline, the electronic reporting of errors, and the Patient Safety Culture Executive WalkRounds program, she has improved the organization’s overall patient safety culture to the point where it now exceeds national benchmarks in certain dimensions. She has since introduced new approaches to conducting reactive and proactive error analyses, as well as performing critical laboratory results notifications. As chair of the Transfusion Committee, she oversees the safety of over 36,000 units of blood and blood components transfused annually. Under her leadership – and by using a systems approach – the organization has experienced zero ABO transfusion errors (National Benchmark = 3/year) for the last two years.

Dr. Saxena is the recipient of many awards including the 2005 Management Excellence Award (CAPH), the LAC-DHS’ first “Patient Safety Executive Leader” award in 2006 and again in 2008, as well as the “Patient Safety Pilot Program” Award in 2007. She is senior editor of the book, The Transfusion Committee: Putting Patient Safety First.

Dr. Saxena completed medical school at the University of Delhi, India and accomplished her post-graduate training at the University of California and at the LAC+USC Medical Center. She is Board Certified in Clinical Pathology and Transfusion Medicine. She is a graduate of the Patient Safety Officer Executive Development Program from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and holds a Master of Health Administration degree from USC.

Dr. Gregg Bendrick is the Chief Medical Officer at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, located on Edwards Air Force Base in California. He earned his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, the Masters of Science (MS) degree, and his Medical Doctorate (MD) all from the University of Chicago. After completing a rotating internship at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital near Detroit, Michigan, he entered active duty with the U.S. Air Force as a Flight Surgeon. During his military service he accomplished the Residency in Aerospace Medicine, followed by the Residency in Occupational Medicine, at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; during this period he completed his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at the University of Texas. After a total of nine years active service, Dr. Bendrick voluntarily separated from the Air Force with an Honorable Discharge. He joined the Oschner Clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he practiced Occupational Medicine for nearly three years before assuming his current position at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. There he oversees all aspects of flight medicine, occupational medicine and fitness center operations. Additionally, he is the Medical Review Officer for workplace drug testing and the on-site medical coordinator for Space Shuttle landings at Edwards Air Force Base. Dr. Bendrick is Board Certified in Aerospace Medicine and is designated by the FAA as a Senior Aviation Medical Examiner. He is an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association and an instructor in the USC Aviation Safety and Security Program.

Gretchen L. Sanderson, JD retired early from United Airlines as a Boeing 767 Captain in 2003. She holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with ratings on the Boeing 737, 757, and 767. She has accumulated over 12,000 flight hours as a pilot and during her career she operated as pilot-in-command of wide body aircraft flying in the Pacific operation for United Airlines as well as in the entire domestic operation of the airline.

After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Illinois (B.A.), she received her law degree from the University of Denver College of Law (J.D.). She is admitted to the practice of law in the state courts of Colorado as well the United States District Court (Colorado) and the United States Courts of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and 10th Circuit.

In 2008 Ms. Sanderson completed the “Threat and Error Management Development Course” offered by USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Her current interests include applying her diverse professional training and background in aviation-derived safety management systems to the medical setting. She believes that “high-reliability organizations” that have developed cultures of safety can be useful models in improving healthcare from the patient safety perspective, as well as practitioner satisfaction.

Continuing Education Units

CEUs: 1.6 (CEUs awarded by the University of Southern California and provided by request only)

USC Viterbi School of Engineering Certificate of Participation is awarded to all participants upon successful completion of course.

Why Consider a Custom Course for Your Organization?

Custom courses provide the opportunity to create an educational program that meets the specific needs of your organization. The following are a few reasons why our clients have chosen USC Viterbi School of Engineering as their program provider:

  • Interest in connecting with USC experts for real organizational issues
  • Engineering training and executive education opportunities in a condensed period of time
  • Educational opportunities at multiple company sites through on-site training and/or distance offerings to several sites simultaneously
  • Preference for providing Continuing Education Units (CEUs) rather than degree-oriented academic units
  • Overall flexibility in timing, delivery and pricing

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us by email or at 213-740-4488

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