With Determination and Action, an Ambitious Goal for 2020 Remains in Reach
Advocacy The founder of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation holds fast to his organization’s commitment to zero preventable patient deaths and explains why he’s confident they’ll make their goal.
Six years ago, we began the Patient Safety Movement Foundation with the audacious goal of achieving zero preventable patient deaths by 2020. Today, we are just two years away from our goal, with more than 4,600 hospitals across 44 countries committed to implementing processes that can get us to zero preventable deaths, including the free, evidence-based Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS) we’ve produced. Participating hospitals that updated their measurements reported 81,533 patient lives saved in 2017 alone. The number of lives saved in 2017 by hospitals that made the commitment to Patient Safety Movement Foundation could be as high as 212,579, with 84,172 in United States alone.
A firm deadline
We’ve made progress, but we are still not at zero. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we will not move or extend the deadline. So how do we get to zero?
Systemic patient safety is attainable, but we can’t just hope for zero — we must plan for zero.
First, I’d like to challenge all hospitals to adopt all 16 of the Actionable Patient Safety Solutions. The APSS are processes designed by a cross-section of the world’s leading medical experts and are proven to reduce preventable harm. Each APSS is drafted in a checklist format which enables hospitals to successfully assess and compare their own existing process, then come up with plans to make sure they are doing all of the steps. Examples include protecting patients from health care-associated infections (HAIs), sepsis detection and medication error reduction.
Planning for zero
The message is clear: systemic patient safety is attainable, but we can’t just hope for zero — we must plan for zero.
Technology has and continues to help clinicians accomplish major clinical breakthroughs, and most of our APSS recommend the technologies needed in the process to achieve zero preventable deaths. But we are not yet taking advantage of the available technologies enough. To reach our zero preventable deaths goal, we need medical device interoperability. People are dying because of the lack of data sharing. Algorithms that can warn clinicians and help them with decision making can’t be used because data from medical devices and electronic medical records have historically been walled by the manufacturers. To solve this problem, we have rallied 83 medical technology companies to sign open data pledges to help build a Patient Data Super Highway. We need more medical technology companies to make this pledge and join us in this fight.
Finally, patient education is essential. With a regular doctor visit lasting less than 15 minutes, it becomes critical that we use technology to arm patients, so they know the right questions to ask, understand their diagnosis and know when to come back for follow-up.
Stand with us and lead us towards zero preventable deaths by 2020. We want many more families to be able to share each new day.