Feature | May 21, 2006 | Kim Phelan

Facing Patient Safety, and Making it Real

Kim Phelan, Editor

Riding along in the car recently, my 13-year-old son told me that viewing a Holocaust dramatization and then meeting concentration-camp-survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan at his school had brought tears to his eyes. I wish such evil did not exist in our children’s history books, but truly there is no better way than what he experienced to help this and future distant generations know and remember that era of suffering.
Putting a face on tragedy is indeed one of the most painful yet valuable ways to force comprehension and correction. Which is why I applaud the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) 100,000 Lives Campaign and some of the meaningful methods it is using to spread its message and propel action aimed at halting needless deaths within America’s hospitals. IHI’s choice of graphic design is noteworthy: Covering the front of the campaign’s brochure — which can be downloaded at www.ihi.org — are 40 faces. Faces of healthy, happy adults and children, seniors and adolescents, singles and couples — just regular people like those we know, and are.
That’s who they’re talking about saving. That’s what they want us to remember.
I think it’s important to keep faces at the forefront of our thinking as the healthcare industry commits, in unison, to effecting deliberate change in specific hospital protocols. Accomplishing well-defined goals with clearly articulated measures, and using every tool within reach to do so, is the subject of a “keynote” article in this issue which I’m very proud to include. I asked Gail Latimer, vice president and chief nursing officer at Siemens, to address how technology is being used to impact patient safety — the approach she took was to identify four of IHI’s Proven Interventions for eliminating preventable deaths and how technology solutions directly support and enable those measures. Her insightful article begins on page 10.
Putting the right tools into the hands of doctors and nurses is always going to touch a life that is in their care. Find out how one healthcare organization methodically researched mobile computing workstations before making a purchasing decision that not only impacted bedside care but helped lay the foundation for implementing EHR at its facility (page 38). To author Ellen Hansen’s discussion we also add the details of three products that are on display at HIMSS 06.
Surgeons around the country are benefiting from a new tool as well: read why PACS in the OR is the logical next stop and one of the final frontiers for instant image accessibility.
Thanks for reading.

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