Saving Lives with Proven Safety Measures
In his first “Year in Review” presentation to the HHC Board of Directors, HHC President Alan D. Aviles vowed to make patient safety his top priority for the city’s public hospitals. As part of that goal, HHC hospitals were among the first in the country to champion the national 100,000 Lives Campaign and its recommended patient safety measures. Eighteen months later, HHC hospitals have reduced inpatient mortality by nearly 10% -- saving an estimated 332 lives through proven medical interventions.
“Evidenced-based patient safety measures, when consistently applied, do save lives,” said Aviles in a letter to the New York Times published July 8. “We know fewer patients on ventilators develop pneumonia if the head of the bed is kept raised. Fewer heart attack victims succumb to a subsequent attack if they receive aspirin and a beta-blocker on admission. And medication errors drop dramatically when hospitals invest in computerized prescription order systems.”
Those are exactly some of the dozens of interventions HHC staff are implementing regularly and consistently across the system to reduce heart attack, prevent central line and surgical site infections, and reduce medication errors.
The HHC system was in fact ranked by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) among the top to achieve success for following desired protocols 90 percent of the time in certain areas of patient care. Several of the public hospitals individually achieved even higher standards and are ranked at 95 - 100 percent.
“We will continue doing what works, perfect existing measures and develop new ones. And we will strive for a hospital culture that makes patient safety every HHC staff’s responsibility -- from our housekeepers to our trauma surgeons.” added Aviles.
By reducing the mortality rate by 10 percent since 2004, HHC reached double the desired goal for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 100,000 Lives Campaign. This campaign was launched in response to national statistics indicating some 98,000 people across the country die every year due to hospital acquired-infections and other preventable errors.