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 Symposium

Each year, a Patient Safety Symposium is held at the STS Annual Meeting. At the 55th Annual Meeting in January 2019, the Patient Safety Symposium focused on innovation in the digital era—from electronic health records to cybersecurity to telemedicine—and its growing impact on patient safety. While most attention is focused on the potential advantages of artificial intelligence, electronic health records, telehealth, and other developments, digital innovation challenges the current notion of patient safety.

You can review slides and listen to lectures from the Patient Safety Symposium through STS Annual Meeting Online. Access is free for 2019 Annual Meeting attendees, while those who did not attend can purchase access. CME credit is available. Annual Meeting Online will be available in mid-March 2019.

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

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 
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.).


Preventing Burnout in Cardiothoracic Surgery
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.

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.

Physician Burnout: Are We Treating the Symptoms Instead of the Disease?
John J. Squiers, MD, Kevin W. Lobdell, MD, James I. Fann, MD, and J. Michael DiMaio, MD
October 2017

Investigating the Causes of Adverse Events
Juan A. Sanchez, MD, Kevin W. Lobdell, MD, Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD, and James I. Fann, MD
June 2017

Teamwork and Communication Skills in Cardiothoracic Surgery
Jennifer L. Wilson, MD, Richard I. Whyte, MD, MBA, Sidhu P. Gangadharan, MD, and Michael S. Kent, MD
April 2017

“What’s the Risk?” Assessing and Mitigating Risk in Cardiothoracic Surgery
Kevin W. Lobdell, MD, James I. Fann, MD, and Juan A. Sanchez, MD
October 2016

Patient Safety: Disclosure of Medical Errors and Risk Mitigation
Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD, Francis D. Ferdinand, MD, and James I. Fann, MD
August 2016

Human Factors and Human Nature in Cardiothoracic Surgery
James I. Fann, MD, Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD, J. Michael DiMaio, MD, and Juan A. Sanchez, MD
June 2016

Our New Reality of Public Reporting: Shame Rather Than Blame?
Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD, Michelle C. Nguyen, MD, James I. Fann, MD, and Stephen Westaby, PhD, FRCS
April 2016

Patient Safety Science in Cardiothoracic Surgery: An Overview
Juan A. Sanchez, MD, Francis D. Ferdinand, MD, and James I. Fann, MD
February 2016