Author Archives: Al Shar

Patient Privacy: The Elephant in the Room

Aug 25, 2014, 12:30 PM, Posted by Al Shar

Albert Shar / RWJF

Albert Shar, managing principle at QERT and former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation vice president and senior program officer reflects on lessons learned from the RWJF-funded project, “Testing a system of establishing voluntary patient identification across multiple health care records to improve outcomes and reduce costs” (Shar is a guest blogger. His opinions are not necessarily those of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).

When it comes to improving patient safety, patient privacy is the elephant in the room.

Virtually every developed country except the United States has a method for identifying patients.  Misidentification of patients is not only costly and inefficient—it’s also dangerous.  According to data from the Institute of Medicine and the Joint Commission, in the U.S., nearly 60 percent of the 200,000 deaths per year caused by medical errors are cases of mistaken identity.

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Pioneering Reflections

Jan 3, 2013, 12:53 PM, Posted by Al Shar

Al Shar Al Shar

Before retiring, Al Shar, vice president and senior program officer, reflected on his time with Pioneer and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Along with a few others here, I’ve been on the Pioneer team since it began in 2003. What makes my case somewhat unique was that I didn’t have to be on the team. I had a “day job,” and no one asked or told me to join; I was there exclusively because I wanted to be. Looking back, what’s interesting about that is how little I, and others, understood about what Pioneer should be.

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