According to government officials there are about 50,000 people alive today because U.S. hospitals committed 17% fewer medical errors in 2013. Hospitals have worked hard to improve safety and 1.3 million fewer patients suffered a hospital acquired condition in 2013 than if the 2010 rate had remained steady which led to savings of more than $12 billion from avoidable costs.
Hospital errors garnered headlines in 1999 when the Institute of Medicine estimated that as many as 98,000 people die every year because of hospital mistakes that allow patients to contract infections, fall, develop pneumonia from being on a ventilator, or suffer other serious but preventable harm. In 2010, Health and Human Services estimated that poor care in hospitals contribute to the deaths of 180,000 patients covered by Medicare.
Those numbers are staggering and disappointing. In hospitals people deal with people and mistakes can happen but systems can be designed to prevent mistakes and reduce errors. GVMH is leading the charge by creating and implementing systems to eliminate errors.
I reached out to Dr. Bill Dailey, Chief Medical Information Officer at GVMH, to learn more about processes GVMH has put in place to keep patients safe. Here are a few of the things he shared:
- Real time automated tracking of Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism to assist providers in providing the correct anticoagulation.
- Notifications regarding VTE prophylaxis measures. Interdisciplinary teams and protocols to ensure treatment is initiated consistently when appropriate.
- Numerous safety measures regarding urinary catheters and their avoidance and removal.
- Stellar performance regarding hand-washing.
- Electronic entry of medication orders by physicians preventing errors.
- Evidence based order sets to ensure the most up to date methods are in place to assist physicians provide consistent quality care.
- Concerted effort to make sure home medications are appropriately reconciled at admission and discharge.
- A discharge specialist to assist in educating patients to ensure they are prepared for discharge.
At GVMH we understand that mistakes happen we also understand that good systems and processes prevent mistakes from reaching the patient. We have dedicated and caring staff and we take full advantage of our advanced technology to make GVMH a safe hospital.