Friday, April 22, 2016

NIH hospital needs sweeping reform to better protect patient safety, panel says - The Washington Post

Practices at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, the hospital where cutting-edge medical research is conducted, require sweeping reform to better protect patient safety, a task force appointed by the agency reported Thursday.

The panel of experts, appointed by NIH Director Francis S. Collins, found that the hospital's research focus sometimes took priority over the safety of the critically ill patients treated there. It also said that the center has many "outdated or inadequate facilities" and that personnel lack expertise on regulations that apply to the hospital and its research and drug-manufacturing units.

The task force concluded that while clinical research at the hospital is integral to its mission, "it suffers from shortcomings that potentially impact patient safety and research outcomes." Regulatory deficiences in its drug production components "are examples of sustained weaknesses in structure, facilities, practices and compliance."

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