ISCOME 2015 Conference: "The Golden Bridge: Communication and Patient Safety"

Medical errors are one of the leading medical causes of disability in the world. Institutional efforts to prevent such undesirable incidents are prevalent, but have not reduced them to satisfactory rates. One of the emerging themes is that the medical field cannot seem to resolve this problem on its own. Instead, interdisciplinary collaborations are needed to advance effective, evidence-based interventions that will eventually result in measurable improvements.

The ISCOME 2015 Conference, entitled “The Golden Bridge: Communication and Patient Safety,” was organized in collaboration with the Tuscany Region’s Centro Gestione Rischio Clinico e Sicurezza del paziente with the objective to facilitate such needed interdisciplinary collaborations. The conference gathered four renowned keynote speakers who shed innovative perspectives onto the role of communication competence in patient safety (Brian Spitzberg, Ph.D., USA), the importance of health outcomes research in the frame of clinician-patient interactions (Richard Street jr., Ph.D., USA), the role of communication in human factors science (Riccardo Tartaglia, M.D., Italy), and horizons for patient safety (Sir Liam Donaldson, MD, UK). Furthermore, ISCOME invited 22 experts and scholars from diverse academic backgrounds onto two conference theme-related roundtable discussion panels, which focused on the status quo and heuristic interdisciplinary directions in cross-professional and provider-patient communication and patient safety. A closing discussion panel with a renowned cast of speakers spotlighted interdisciplinary reflections on the past, present and future of patient safety in Europe and beyond.

A total of 135 participants from 17 countries across the globe attended the ISCOME 2015 conference in Montecatini Terme. Numerous participants attended the three featured ISCOME 2015 conference workshops on second victims (Albert Wu, M.D., USA), handover skills (Giulio Toccafondi, Sara Albolino, GCR, Italy), and evidence-based assessments and improvements in patient-provider communication (John Øvretveit, Ph.D., Sweden). During an intensive 3-day post-conference workgroup, the invited speakers developed conference-theme-related research on three tracks: (1) knowledge sharing, (2) data-sharing, and (3) new knowledge generation. The initial results of the conference will be published in a special section in BMJ Quality & Medicine across two separate journal issues in 2016, and it will be entitled “Contributions of Communication Research to Patient Safety.” Furthermore, the research workgroup set an agenda to pursue numerous interdisciplinary research projects beyond this special section, including several books and grant proposals. To browse the original conference website with all its features, please click here.