Patient Safety Symposium Examines Digital Health Pitfalls and Promises

Digital Health is Proven to Reduce 100% of Medication Errors in Hospitals When Designed for Specific Patient Populations and Processes

BOSTON and MADRID, February 4, 2020 – The nonprofit Foundation for the Innovation and Development of Health Safety (FIDHS) today announced proceedings and a white paper from its inaugural symposium, Patient Safety in a Digital World, held at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston last week.

The first order of business was to announce the formation of FIDHS, and its mission, as laid out by Founder & Chairman, Ed Morata. “Patient safety is a global issue that we need to improve together as physicians, regulators, innovators, investors and patient advocates,” explained Morata. “After extensive research, the Foundation was established to help overcome the challenges of delivering high quality healthcare by developing and supporting digital health innovation.”

The Foundation also published its first White Paper “Challenges and Opportunities for the Improvement of Health Systems (c) January 2020,” detailing progress and digital solutions for the three most common incidences of medical error – medication errors, surgical errors, and misdiagnoses:

A common theme that emerged at the symposium was “digital design,” keeping the patient at the center of digital innovation when designing apps and platforms that serve a specific need or solve a particular problem. Mario Garcia Gil, Head of Pharmacy/BCOP at the Hospital de Fuenlabrada in Madrid, presented a case study where by using a digital health system, the hospital was able to reduce medication errors to zero and reduce patient harm while achieving cost savings.

“If we take a global, collaborative approach to developing disruptive digital health technologies, we can improve both patient safety and overall hospital efficiencies,” added Morata. “Working in silos is no longer a viable option; with the emergence of participatory health, the patient becomes the consumer who both shapes the demand for and determines the proven value of healthcare services.”

Jen Goldsack, Executive Director, Digital Medicine Society (DiMe), said that when developing digital technologies to reduce avoidable patient harm, the industry should take pause and assess how digital medicine is different from traditional medicine. “The way that ‘digital’ permeates every aspect of our daily lives -- the abundance of data and passive data collection -- truly redefines the boundaries of where patient harm can occur. We need to challenge the meanings and assumptions across the board as we develop new technologies and identify target use cases where patient harm has been pervasive and where traditional methods have not been able to help, versus plastering the industry with apps.”

Sara Silacci, Director, Strategic Alliance Initiative, Mass General Center for Innovation in Digital Healthcare (CIDH), spoke about the overabundance of digital health apps which contribute to physician burnout, ‘Are we really ready to move to AI-driven healthcare? Other than EHR, what other digital health tech is scaled?’ She points to the fact that data and evidence as to how digital health benefits patients matters greatly to physicians who take an oath ‘First, do no harm,’ however, digital health doesn’t have evidence-based data to offer yet. Silacci remains hopeful ‘This is why I choose to stay in digital health – the hope that one day the promise will exceed the hype, and the opportunity to be part of the solution.”

Luba Greenwood, J.D., Professor, Harvard School of Engineering & Applied Sciences (SEAS), addressed the convergence of healthcare and big tech: “I’m less concerned with big tech innovating healthcare solutions and more concerned with startups in this space who often don’t take the time to involve the end users and populations they are designing for – patients versus providers versus insurers and payors.” Greenwood is also Senior Advisor to the CEO at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and formerly served in Corporate Ventures at tech giant Google Verily.

Robert Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio, closed out the symposium with a passionate speech about the importance of patient advocacy and developing patient-driven drug treatments and disruptive digital solutions for unmet medical needs that save lives. “We are not going to have a new gene therapy if digital health doesn’t pull it all together for us,” he remarked.


With operations in Madrid and Boston, the Foundation was established in 2019 to the advance the overall quality, safety, and delivery of patient care. The Foundation’s primary focus is on supporting and innovating digital solutions that eliminate preventable medical errors in hospitals and health systems across the U.S. and Internationally. According to the CDC, adverse drug events are a serious public health problem: 82% of American adults take at least one medication and ADEs cause approximately 1.3 million emergency department visits and 350,000 hospitalizations each year, costing the healthcare industry $3.5 billion in excess medical costs. In addition to improving the quality and safety of medication management, the Foundation is dedicated to preventing adverse events from surgical procedures, hospital acquired infections, and misdiagnoses. For more info visit

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