Pierce Lecture: ‘Is Safety Becoming the Poor Stepchild of Quality?’

Matthew B. Weinger, MD, MS

Matthew B. Weinger, MD, MS

According to Matthew B. Weinger, MD, MS, who will deliver the 2020 Pierce Lecture, patient safety is being threatened by competing pressures within health care to deliver more and better care at lower cost.

“As will be discussed in my talk, it is even more challenging to redesign health care organizations to prioritize safety in this era of value-based care, and especially with the added stresses of COVID. It is thus critical for anesthesiologists to serve on the front lines as safety advocates and change agents,” said Dr. Weinger, a long-time officer and director of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF).

It’s worth emphasizing here the vision for which the APSF is so well-known—“no one shall be harmed by anesthesia care”—and recognizing the organization’s unique status as the first medical specialty foundation devoted solely to addressing patient safety—a distinct pursuit that was not formally acknowledged in medicine until the APSF’s formation in 1985.

Since then, anesthesiologists have been instrumental in improving perioperative surgical care and are universally recognized leaders in patient safety. But in an uncertain future, it is important that anesthesiologists not lose sight of the APSF’s overarching vision in their everyday encounters.

Pierce Lecture

10-11 a.m. CT
Saturday, October 3

“I hope I can offer the audience one or two take-aways that will change how they think about their day-to-day practice and their interactions with their patients, colleagues, and hospital administrators,” said Dr. Weinger. “As one example, attendees should better appreciate the important distinctions between a health care organization that is primarily production-oriented and one that prioritizes safety as a core value.”

Dr. Weinger brings a multidisciplinary understanding to patient safety research. He has a strong background in electrical engineering, neurobiology, and neuropharmacology, along with his training in anesthesiology. He is currently the Norman Ty Smith Chair in Patient Safety and Medical Simulation and Professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, and Medical Education at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Dr. Weinger’s numerous publications and grants over his 30-plus year career have been pivotal in advancing patient safety and perioperative care. He has received more than $12 million in direct support from federal agencies and foundations.

APSF President Mark Warner, MD, praised Dr. Weinger’s various contributions to the APSF, including his mentorship to junior faculty and contributions to curricula for clinical trainees, and called his talk “a fitting tribute to the memory and contributions of Dr. Pierce.”

“It is a great honor to be chosen for this prestigious opportunity to speak to a broad cross-section of my colleagues,” said Dr. Weinger. “I am grateful for the recognition of the more than 30 years I have spent on patient safety research, teaching, and advocacy.”

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