As mentioned in our previous blog, the Senate Health, Education and Labor Pensions Committee held a hearing on national efforts to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). While hospitals continue to make progress in reducing preventable patient errors and deaths, more than 200,000 patient preventable deaths are still occurring each year in U.S. hospitals. The Patient Safety Movement Foundation, established to bring all stakeholders together to address patient safety, committed to a goal of zero preventable patient deaths by the year 2020. Joe Kiani, founder of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, spoke before the committee and offered his recommendations for eliminating preventable patient deaths. He provided five ways that stakeholders can work together to boldly address the problem of preventable patient deaths:
Create a system of transparency – We can only estimate the number of preventable patient deaths and the causes since hospitals are not required to measure and report these preventable deaths. Kiani recommends that the government create standardized processes for hospitals to define, measure, and report both HAIs and healthcare-acquired conditions (HACs). In addition to having a standardized measurement and reporting system, he suggests that these rates be publically reported for accountability.
Provide incentives and disincentives – In addition to recommending expansion of Medicare policies to decrease reimbursements for causes of preventable deaths, Kiani also recommends providing incentives for hospitals by suggesting that hospitals should be shielded from malpractice lawsuits if they implement evidence-based practices to decrease preventable patient deaths.
Create the “patient data super highway” – Medical technologies tend to operate in isolation and do not share data openly with each other. Kiani recommends that technology systems be required to share information with each other for improved efficiency and transparency of outcomes.
Extend safe harbors – Currently, hospitals are protected by safe harbor laws for reporting adverse events to patient safety organizations. To promote transparency, Kiani suggests that Congress should expand these legal safe harbors to technology vendors as well.
Ensure patient dignity – Hospitals need to include patients and their families as partners in care and advocate on behalf of their experience. Kiani proposes having a patient care advocate at every hospital.
What do you think about Kiani’s suggestions to get to zero preventable patient deaths by 2020? Are there other ways that you have seen stakeholders work together to improve outcomes with patient preventable deaths?