News from Transparent Learning

JULY 7, 2010
"The Story of Lewis Blackman” Wins SECOND Production Award
The powerful, groundbreaking film from Transparent Health®, "From Tears to Transparency…The Faces of Medical Error: The Story of Lewis Blackman," has received the highest honor in the 31st Annual Telly Awards. The film picked up a Silver Telly statuette, given for a score of 9 or higher (out of 10) from the panel of judges. The film already won the distinguished Aegis production award earlier this year.

The multiple-award-winning documentary was produced by Transparent Health® (, a group of healthcare practitioners, educators, and safety experts dedicated to the prevention of harm that results from medical care. SolidLine Media of Chicago was the production partner on the project.

Founded in 1978, the Telly honors the very best local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs; the finest video and film productions; and web commercials, videos and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world. Nearly 11,000 entries were submitted from all 50 states and numerous countries.

Developed through the efforts of Transparent Health®’s Tim McDonald, MD, JD and David Mayer, MD--pioneers in patient safety education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the film chronicles the experience of a vibrant, healthy 15-year-old boy who entered the hospital for what was believed to be a low-risk medical procedure; he died several days later as the result of a series of medical errors. The film also teaches the value of open and honest communication and/or disclosure after harm has occurred from our care. Through the eyes of patient safety experts such as Lucian Leape, MD, Bob Galbraith, MD, and author Rosemary Gibson, as well as Drs. McDonald and Mayer, the film addresses educational milestones necessary to produce change in the way medical error is managed. Helen Haskell, patient advocate and Lewis Blackman’s mother, also shares her family’s story over the course of Lewis’ five-day hospital stay so that others will not suffer similar tragic outcomes.

"The Story of Lewis Blackman," which is part of a DVD learning program, teaches the practices and principles necessary to reduce preventable medical error by putting a face on errors. This is done in a way that caregivers, hospital administrators, risk managers, educators, policymakers, and consumers can all relate to on an emotional level. The program, which consists of the award-winning film and complementary educational materials, is available at the Transparent Learning store. Transparent Learning is the exclusive distributor for the film, and the trailer is available for viewing on the Transparent Learning home page.

"We’re very proud to receive this second film production award and the Telly Awards’ highest honor," said Dr. McDonald. "The Silver Telly further validates of the quality of this video. 'The Story of Lewis Blackman' is a valuable tool to help all of the caring people in healthcare ensure that patient safety is top priority."

The film contains facilitated discussion points embedded throughout to highlight key learning objectives and stimulate discussion. At certain points, viewers are challenged to analyze and reflect upon what went wrong, where their own systems may be vulnerable, how to improve care within their system, and how to effectively address errors with open and honest communication and/or disclosure after harm has occurred from our care.

"Competing against big-budget corporate films to win a Silver Telly is a major milestone for us. But it’s even more important a recognition for everyone who is involved in educating caregivers about patient safety," said Dr. Mayer. "The patient's voice is often the missing element when we focus our attention on patient safety, and Lewis Blackman’s story can provide that voice."

"We are quite honored to have received the Silver Telly for our production work," stated Greg Vass, Executive Producer at SolidLine Media ( "As with the Aegis Award earlier this year—which earned the #1 overall highest ranking score in the Aegis judging—whenever we get to put our talents to something as important a subject as patient safety, it makes us feel proud of what we do."

This poignant, educationally driven film "pulls at the heart and enters the soul, yet also calmly lays out a set of well-reasoned suggestions that allow individuals and institutions to respond," said Michael Millenson, healthcare consultant and author of Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age.

About Transparent Health®
Transparent Health® works with healthcare delivery systems, consumers, government leaders, legislators, educators, and other national and international patient safety and quality organizations to advance the concepts of an open, honest and transparent approach to the prevention of, and response to, patient harm. Transparent Health® expands the knowledge of all healthcare providers and patients through outcome-based, educational training programs targeted at reducing medical errors, lowering risk, restoring patient trust, and improving patient outcomes. For more information, visit

About Transparent Learning
Transparent Learning, Inc. was founded in 2009 by experts in patient safety, transparency and education. Transparent Learning’s mission is to improve patient care outcomes by delivering innovative and emotionally engaging education programs in patient safety, disclosure and related areas. To accomplish this, Transparent Learning designs, develops, delivers, and assesses innovative outcomes-based educational programs throughout the care continuum. For more information, visit

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