The Institute of Medicine’s influential 1999 report “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System” estimated that as many as 98,000 people die each year from medical errors in American healthcare facilities. That is a higher toll than caused by motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer or HIV-AIDS. More recent studies also show that, on average, 1 in 3 hospital patients suffer a medical error or adverse event.
So it is no wonder that patient safety has come to the forefront as an issue that requires serious attention, and governments, patient groups, hospitals and healthcare professionals have responded. Patients themselves are increasingly focused on quality of care — and that is reflected in the amount of research and due diligence that people take on themselves before going to a hospital or seeing a doctor.
Evidence of patient safety’s increasing momentum is seen in the new Partnership for Patients initiative by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the recent appointment of a new Envoy for Patient Safety by the World Health Organization, and the rising trend by US hospitals, such as Kent Hospital in Rhode Island, to build a strategic, top-down culture to help address various patient safety needs.
A leading provider of medical equipment to hospitals and other healthcare providers, GE Healthcare has a valuable role to play in the policy dialogue and practical solutions for improving patient safety.
Over the next several months, here on the GE Healthcare newsroom, an article series will illuminate the many areas where GE Healthcare, its partners and customers are engaged in reducing medical error. The links below include a few specific initiatives in which GE Healthcare has had a part. So subscribe to the newsroom RSS feed and watch out for more substance on this critical healthcare issue.
This initiative reflects GE Healthcare’s on-going commitment to working alongside healthcare professionals globally to find new ways to drive better outcomes and improve the patient’s healthcare experience and safety.