Weinger's Patient Safety Achievements Recognized

Matthew B. Weinger, MD, was recently named the recipient of the 2020 A. R. Lauer Safety Award by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). This award recognizes a person for outstanding contributions to human factors aspects in the broad area of safety.
“I am truly honored to be recognized by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society for this award,” Weinger said.

Weinger earned this award through a 30-year effort to improve clinical practices to reduce medical errors by applying HFE theory and methods to healthcare. His work includes methods and practices to enhance patient monitoring and medication delivery, to understand clinician performance and the factors that can affect it like fatigue and burnout, to improve clinician training through medical simulation training and assessment, and to apply human-centered design to develop better work processes, alarms, and clinical decision support systems.

“Dr. Weinger was selected from a very competitive group of applicants who are all doing incredible work in many industries to make the world safer,” stated Valerie Gawron, PhD of the MITRE Corporation who served as Chair of the award committee.

Weinger will take his expertise on patient safety to the American Society of Anesthesiologist’s Annual Meeting presented the 2020 Ellison C. Pierce, Jr. Memorial Safety Lecture on Saturday, Oct. 3. His lecture was entitled “Is Safety Becoming the Poor Stepchild of Quality?”

In his lecture, he explained the importance of safety and quality with a key aspect being understanding how excessive zeal to achieve quality goals can negatively affect clinician patient safety. The lecture concluded with a discussion about how anesthesiologists can play a role in the future of safety and quality. “We were the first specialty to embrace patient safety, he said during his lecture. “We are still leaders in patient safety.”

Department of Anesthesiology Char Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD, said Weinger and his team of experts have developed over the course of a couple decades into one of a few “go to” resources in the country for patient safety designs, especially in the high-risk, high-acuity procedural environment. “Matt appreciates that engineered and humanistic systems to enhance patient safety work best together. Moreover, as a scientist, Matt is unafraid to follow the empiric conclusions driven by his data, and then challenge intuitions and dogma that turn out to be appealing but wrong. For all these reasons, the anesthesia patient safety community is rightly proud to see Matt receive this award!” he said.