• Center for Patient Safety

    Department mission

    The mission of the Center for Patient Safety is to reduce the burden of medical injury in cancer care. The Center serves as a laboratory for innovation, challenging the boundaries of education, scholarship, and quality improvement in patient safety. Grounded in research and interdisciplinary collaboration, the Center has a special interest in understanding the role that patients and families can play, together with clinicians, in preventing medical errors. The Center aims to create a research program that will carry innovation at Dana-Farber to a broad audience.

    Research themes

    Patient engagement

    The Center is committed to understanding and promoting patient engagement in ensuring safe care. We evaluated patient safety recommendations for consumers; studied patient-identified incidents in a variety of settings; and conducted research into interventions that engage patients in preventing medication errors and enhancing teamwork.

    Oral chemotherapy safety

    Although prescribing of oral chemotherapy drugs has increased rapidly in recent years, little is known about safeguards for using these medicines. The Center's previous research revealed a lack of consensus on the safe use of these drugs among pharmacy directors at National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers. Together with Dana-Farber collaborators, the Center obtained a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to conduct a risk assessment of oral chemotherapy. Using detailed "process maps" for five oral chemotherapy drugs and failure mode and effect analyses (FMEAs), we identified opportunities for improvement in the safe use of oral chemotherapy.

    Electronic prescribing in ambulatory care

    Electronic prescribing promises to improve safety over written prescriptions. Building on our study of clinicians' experiences and judgments of the value of the technology in ambulatory care, Center staff studied perceptions of the drug interaction and allergy alerts generated by the systems, and the reasons clinicians often override those alerts.

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