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Patient Safety Awareness Week: Improvements and the Battle Ahead for Better Patient Care

GE

GE Healthcare has launched the GE Global Patient Safety Network, which will connect professionals around the globe in order to improve patient care.

Patient Safety Awareness Week is the best time to see how far hospitals have progressed in achieving patient safety throughout the world. Hospital equipment is more efficient, personnel are better trained, and there are healthcare systems in place to prevent errors.

Despite these improvements, the issue of patient safety is still one of the most important concerns for hospitals. Although progress has been made, it’s not enough. There is a one in 300 chance of a patient being harmed during health care. The price of hospitalization, litigation costs, infections acquired in hospitals, lost income, disability and medical expenses have cost some countries between US$ 6 billion and US$ 29 billion a year.

But it’s not all bad news. Kathleen Sebelius, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, had some positive progress to report. During a speech in the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Lecture in 2011, she said that infections spread in ICUs were reduced by 63 per cent between 2001 and 2009 because hospital staff was using a checklist that helped them track the process better.

How can Hospitals improve patient safety?

Patients need to have confidence in their hospitals and healthcare personnel. In order to do so, the errors that have been made need to be learned from. Professionals need to share information about problems and their solutions around the world.

Within the frame of Patient Safety Week, GE Healthcare has launched their new GE Global Patient Safety Network (GPSN), a platform for professionals around the world to share their thoughts on patient safety. It will be easier to find relevant content, to connect and share it with global peers working on the same problems. The programs’ 90-day evaluation, which will run from March through June, will offer hospitals the opportunity to collaborate with local and global peers and assess the GPSN without cost or obligation.

Within the larger GPSN community of hospitals and individuals, private sub-communities can also be established and “gardened” by leaders. GE plans to incorporate feedback from participating hospitals during the evaluation into the design of the network with the goal of releasing a commercial offering in 2012.

“Patient safety is a serious issue, not just in the US but all over the world, affecting countless patients,” said Yvonne Robertson, the Lead Director of North West London Health Innovation and Education Cluster. “While communicating honestly with other providers about patient safety can be intimidating, today’s global healthcare climate requires directness, cooperation and transparency.”