Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (Ventana), a member of the Roche Group, announced that a Congressional Briefing in Washington this week explored critical patient safety issues related to tissue slide processing that often get overlooked in US clinical and anatomic laboratories. Some of the most acute risk areas include patient specimen misidentification and cross-contamination―areas that many deem serious enough to warrant future reform of lab industry standards in an effort to better protect patients.
The Briefing, entitled "A Dialogue on Patient Safety and Cancer," was designed to educate federal legislators and their staffs about patient safety issues as they consider related legislation, regulatory oversight, and constituent service in the future.
Rep. Ron Barber delivered opening remarks for the company-sponsored Briefing before introducing Mara G. Aspinall, President, Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. Aspinall moderated a distinguished panel including Maurie Markman, MD, Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs/National Director of Medical Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Eric Walk, MD, FCAP, Senior Vice President, Medical & Scientific Affairs, Ventana; and Patricia McGaffigan, RN, MS, Interim President National Patient Safety Foundation.
"In line with our mission, 'to improve the lives of all patients afflicted with cancer,' we were very pleased to sponsor this Congressional Briefing to educate federal legislators and their staffs about critical patient safety issues not uncommon in today's labs," said Aspinall. "Understanding these issues is a vital first step for those considering legislation that could reduce risk and improve US patient safety practices moving forward."
Senior health and science aides for members of Congress; key congressional committee staff; executives from a wide range of professional and trade associations involved in health care delivery, medical research and medical technology; and representatives of the broad cancer community attended this first-of-its kind briefing event.
"Patient safety is an essential attribute of quality care and an ethical and moral imperative. We have an obligation to our patients, their caregivers and one another to protect against errors or failures," said Maurie Markman. "At Cancer Treatment Center of America®, there is no priority higher than patient safety. If there is a conflict between safe practice and speed, efficiency or patient satisfaction, patient safety will always win – it is a critical part of the patient experience which places the patient and his/her well-being at the center of everything we do."
More information about patient safety in the lab can be found at the Ventana sponsored website SaferPath.org.