The “next big thing” in medicine is not going to be a magic pill or a superfast scan, “it is going to be making hospitals safer,” said cardiac surgeon Devi Shetty on Thursday.

Medical errors account for a substantial number of deaths around the world, and in the United States it is the sixth commonest cause of death, said Dr. Shetty. He was delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of an Indo-Dutch international conference on ‘Design for sustainable well-being and empowerment’ at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.). “American hospitals are 10 times riskier than skydiving,” he said. Developing a patient management protocol was the key to ensuring hospital safety, and India had a unique opportunity to develop IT-based protocols, he said. “Our software engineers, for instance, could prove valuable in developing apps for doctors to manage their patients.” Hospitals should “celebrate complaints” and see them as a way to improve, he added.

The three-day conference will see lectures, and papers and poster presentations on themes ranging from household organic waste recycling to the concept of “frugal innovations” and designing dry sanitation systems for rural India.

Anil Gupta, professor at the IIM Ahmedabad, spoke at the inauguration.

Keywords: hospital safety

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