Patient Safety

Cardiothoracic surgeons have long been recognized for their dedication to clinical excellence and patient safety. This page on the STS website was developed as a resource to provide the latest information on patient safety educational materials and peer-reviewed research offered by the Society.

Patient Safety E-Learning Program Available for Purchase

STS is offering an e-learning program on the science and practice of patient safety. “Fundamentals of Patient Safety for the Cardiothoracic Surgery Team” is a series of online modules covering topics such as the epidemiology of error, systems thinking, human factors, the culture of safety, fundamentals of quality improvement, communication, and methods and tools for evaluating safety events. By completing the entire program, learners can earn 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, as well as self-assessment credits toward Part II of the American Board of Surgery Maintenance of Certification Program. 


  • $150 for STS Members
  • $250 for Non-Members

Visit to purchase the program, and contact Education with any questions

Patient Safety Papers

The following articles were written by members of the STS Workforce on Patient Safety and published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Lead Author Title Date
Justin C. Y. Chan, MBBS, FRACS “Nobody told me”: Communication Issues Affecting Australian Cardiothoracic Surgery Patients December 2019
Leah M. Backhus, MD, MPH Culture of Safety and Gender Inclusion in Cardiothoracic Surgery October 2018
Kevin W. Lobdell, MD Decision Making, Evidence, and Practice April 2018
Susan Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD Leadership Oversight for Patient Safety Programs: An Essential Element February 2018
John J. Squiers, MD Physician Burnout: Are We Treating the Symptoms Instead of the Disease? October 2017
Juan A. Sanchez, MD Investigating the Causes of Adverse Events June 2017
Jennifer L. Wilson, MD Teamwork and Communication Skills in Cardiothoracic Surgery April 2017
Kevin W. Lobdell, MD “What’s the Risk?” Assessing and Mitigating Risk in Cardiothoracic Surgery October 2016
Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD Patient Safety: Disclosure of Medical Errors and Risk Mitigation August 2016
James I. Fann, MD Human Factors and Human Nature in Cardiothoracic Surgery June 2016
Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD Our New Reality of Public Reporting: Shame Rather Than Blame? April 2016
Juan A. Sanchez, MD Patient Safety Science in Cardiothoracic Surgery: An Overview February 2016
Jill A. Marsteller, PhD, MPP Safety Culture in Cardiac Surgical Teams: Data From Five Programs and National Surgical Comparison December 2015
Agnes Bognár, MD Errors and the Burden of Errors: Attitudes, Perceptions, and the Culture of Safety in Pediatric Cardiac Surgical Teams April 2008
Patient Safety Videos

The Society has filmed a number of roundtable discussions that explore various patient safety topics.

Preparing for the Benefits of AI and New Cyber Threats in Cardiothoracic Surgery - March 4, 2019

Artifical intelligence (AI) and electronic health technologies are changing how physicians conceptualize and treat diseases. Although these futuristic advancements are leading to improvements in quality, safety, and patient outcomes, these technologies also are dramatically changing the cyber threat landscape. Kevin W. Lobdell, MD, from Atrium Health, talks with colleagues in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, and anesthesiology about embracing virtual reality, augmented reality, and machine learning, while also finding ways to protect against cyberattacks. Also featured are Anthony C. Chang, MD, BMA, MPH, from the Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute, Steven D. Harrington, MD, from Henry Ford, John C. Frenzel, MD, from MD Anderson, and Garrett L. Walsh, MD, from MD Anderson.



Discrepancies Between Evidence-Based and Real-World Practices - April 18, 2018
It is estimated that, on average, it takes 17 years before innovation is disseminated into clinical practice. This roundtable focuses on how cardiothoracic surgery can speed up the process. Drs. Juan A. Sanchez, Michael S. Kent, Kevin W. Lobdell, and W. Chance Conner discuss why there is a gap, strategies for implementation, and quicker adoption by the end user (hospital, clinician, etc.).


How the Opioid Crisis Is Affecting Cardiothoracic Surgery - February 12, 2018
Four cardiothoracic surgeons discuss the opioid epidemic in the United States, the scope of the problem among lung cancer patients, how else the epidemic is affecting the cardiothoracic surgery community, and what cardiothoracic surgeons are doing to stem the crisis.


Preventing Burnout in Cardiothoracic Surgery - April 24, 2017
Several reports have highlighted the problem of work-related stress and burnout among health care providers. The interventional strategies for managing burnout are not well-defined, particularly in cardiothoracic surgery, and much has been proposed in terms of methods to combat such a condition. Drs. Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, Steven G. Gabbe, Maryanna D. Klatt, and Wayne M. Sotile discuss the effects of both burnout and resiliency on patient safety and satisfaction, as well as various techniques for stress management.


Cardiothoracic Surgeons Committed to Patient Safety - April 30, 2013
Join Drs. M. Blair Marshall of Georgetown University Hospital, Thoralf Sundt of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Juan Sanchez of Saint Mary's Hospital as they discuss patient safety strategies.