Hospital alliance launches safety initiative

May 21, 2007

The number of deaths from medical errors is higher than that from motor vehicle crashes, breast cancer, or AIDS.

Wellmont Health System, Adventist Health System, and Novant Health, three of the nation's leading hospital systems, announced a plan to combat the growing epidemic of medical errors in hospitals. The Safest Hospital Alliance will develop a comprehensive approach to patient safety by creating metrics and identifying best practices, while seeking to specifically define how a truly "safe" hospital should function and provide treatment to its patients. The alliance is responding to what the Institute of Medicine rates as the eighth-leading cause of death—medical errors. The number of deaths from medical errors is higher than that from motor vehicle crashes, breast cancer, or AIDS. Richard Salluzzo, M.D., president and CEO of Wellmont Health System and founder of the Safest Hospital Alliance, said that the healthcare industry has been waiting for a perfect system. "We can no longer wait. We're not doing this because we've been forced to by government-mandated changes in the healthcare industry. We're doing it because it's right." According to the Institute of Medicine, an estimated 98,000 hospital deaths occur annually from medical errors, with a price tag of approximately $37.6 billion in additional charges, including $17 billion associated with preventable errors.

To see more Hot off the Press news articles, click here.

To go to the Drug Topics homepage, click here.