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Insights from Dr. Schabacker


"Preventable medical errors kill up to an estimated 100,000 Americans a year. That is the equivalent of a passenger plane crashing every day for a year with no survivors.

Imagine how quickly the entire aviation industry would screech to a halt if planes crashed two days in a row. Imagine the trauma and public outcry that would follow such a situation. Yet we accept these preventable fatalities in our healthcare institutions every day, with alarming complacency about patient safety and a deafening silence about the prevalence of preventable harm. Prior to joining ECRI, I practiced as an anesthesiologist and intensive care specialist. I also served as a senior leader at various medical device and pharmaceutical companies. As my career progressed, I was increasingly alarmed not only at the prevalence of preventable harm – but the impact of often profit-driven voices in the delivery of care, be it on the industry or provider side.

These experiences brought me to ECRI. As an independent nonprofit organization, ECRI’s only agenda is to improve how healthcare is delivered and make it safer, more efficient, and more equitable. ECRI’s work is grounded in creating systemic, cultural change in healthcare institutions to reduce preventable harm, allow for evidence-based best practice, make health inequities visible and improve patient care and safety. In pursuit of ECRI’s mission – to advance effective, evidence-based healthcare globally – I’m passionate about key aspects of health care delivery which are often overlooked: health equity, data-driven insights, and human factors engineering.

Healthcare has experienced an immense amount of change. Now more than ever, providers need evidence-based solutions to improve patient outcomes and streamline the delivery of care. We appeal to all stakeholders involved to come together to break the cone of silence and acknowledge the problems we are experiencing. Although the challenges we face are daunting, our strong global partnerships are paving the way for the dawning of a new day in healthcare – a day free of preventable harm.

Like other practitioners, I went into medicine to help people. Every physician swore an oath to “do no harm” – including me – and yet harm happens every day in healthcare. This oath and my essential belief in humanity is what inspires me to lead ECRI. I have the privilege to work alongside an outstanding group of colleagues on a mission to address systemic issues in global healthcare; to have a positive impact in healthcare far beyond what I ever could have imagined as an individual practitioner. The journey to eliminating preventable patient harm and ensuring equitable access to care begins with acknowledging we have a problem. We simply cannot accept the status quo.

I call upon all healthcare industry leaders to reimagine their approach to safety and commit to achieve zero preventable harm and equitable access to care for all. Let’s start now, together!

Marcus Schabacker 
President & CEO, ECRI


Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD

Dr. Marcus Schabacker became president and chief executive officer of ECRI in January 2018. Dr. Schabacker is a board-certified anesthesiologist and intensive care specialist with more than 35 years of healthcare experience in complex global environments, and more than 20 years of senior leadership responsibilities serving the medical device and pharmaceutical industries across the healthcare value chain. 


Thought Leadership

“The quality issues we’ve seen recently with syringes made in China are a harsh reminder of how tenuous our global supply chain is when we rely too heavily on international manufacturing. Although more domestic manufacturing isn’t the only solution, it would certainly improve our supply chain resiliency and ability to ensure quality control.”

Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD

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Speaking Engagements

Dr. Schabacker is frequently invited to share thought leadership and ECRI’s unique industry insights at conferences and events.

Coming Up

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