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Bylined Article - Dr. Carolyn Clancy

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“A Major New Quality Improvement Initiative We Can All Support”
Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., Director,

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Given AHRQ’s mission, it’s been only natural for us to participate actively in planning for the important new television series and outreach campaign known as “Remaking American Medicine.” We recognize RAM’s enormous potential for expanding public awareness of and engagement in quality improvement and patient safety issues.

Dr. Carolyn ClancyI have enjoyed serving on the RAM Advisory Panel, and Christine Williams, director of AHRQ’s Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer has been an active member of RAM’s National Awareness Advisory Committee, and our agency has helped fund the outreach campaign to promote the engagement of local stakeholders in grass roots activities related to RAM.

While there has certainly been a remarkable increase in the attention devoted to quality and patient safety in the six years since the release of the IOM report To Err Is Human, we have barely scratched the surface. Despite our commitment to engaging the public about these issues, most Americans know very little about them, often only from personal experience. RAM holds great promise for educating all Americans about patient safety and health care quality—and the reasons they should be concerned about these issues.

The television series not only offers a thoughtful, informative presentation of quality and safety issues. It also does a remarkable job of putting a human face on the issues, presenting first-hand accounts of patients who have experienced medical errors, hospital-acquired infections, undiagnosed diabetes, and other preventable medical conditions. Through both the TV series and its outreach campaign, RAM communicates the important message that citizens, clinicians, administrators, and group purchasers can all make a difference—and have done so.

The RAM series reports on some imaginative local initiatives from across the country to promote quality care and prevent medical errors. In addition, through its national outreach campaign, RAM seeks to mobilize others at the local level in partnership with QIOs, local PBS stations, and community organizations across the country.

We encourage you to view the entire four-part RAM series on PBS in October. I also urge you to tell your colleagues and friends about RAM. For more information, please go to the Web site: