Earlier this month I (K.W.) attended the Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project summit at Consumer Reports headquarters in Yonkers, NY. Over 31 talented advocates from 17 states came to learn, network and share ideas about improving patient safety. Presentations were given by:
· Dr. John Santa and Tara Montgomery with Consumers Reports’ Health Ratings Center
· Lane Raseberry, Consumer Reports’ Wikipedian in Residence
· Dr. Marty Makary, author of the book Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care
· Marshall Allen, investigative journalist from ProPublica
In addition, several advocates presented patient safety work done in their respective states and nationally.
While the presentations gave me much food for thought, the true highlight of the conference was connecting ideas, discussing challenges, and creating new opportunities with these dedicated and well-educated advocates. We brainstormed ways to support and build each others’ missions individually and collectively. It was inspirational to see how the personal tragedies that many have suffered resulted in commitment to advocacy, patience, and compassion, ensuring others won’t suffer a similar fate. I can still feel the power, passion and collective wisdom from the group.
As a result of my experience in working with consumer activists, I believe it is more important now than ever to incorporate us/them into policy discussions as they/we play a pivotal role in the health reform movement. Selling Sickness 2013 will not only bring together academic medical reformers from around the world, but also health journalists and consumer activists. I hope the collective wisdom and strength I experienced at the Safe Patient summit will be magnified at Selling Sickness 2013.