Improving Patient Safety Through Collaboration Between Clinical Staff and Engineering Staff in Hospitals

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Clinicians and biomedical engineers each provide their unique skill sets to the common goal of improving patient safety. Increased communication between the two can improve the medical device experience of caregivers and patients at many points in the lifespan of a medical device. This includes purchasing, training, using, and adverse event reporting and investigation. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Medical Product Safety Network (MedSun), a network of 250 US hospitals trained to partner with FDA and device manufacturers to report and resolve problems with medical devices, works with participating hospitals to encourage communication and collaboration to improve adverse event reporting and promote patient safety. A cursory look at reports submitted through MedSun shows that hospitals with strong collaborations between engineering and clinical staff are more likely to submit higher-quality reports to FDA with both the clinical scenario and engineering evaluation necessary to appropriately identify and act on medical device issues. The purpose of this article was to discuss the various ways strong collaboration between clinicians and engineers can benefit hospitals and share collaboration strategies as reported by hospitals participating in MedSun.

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