The Patient Safety Movement Foundation recently held its third annual Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit where it was announced that the more than 500 hospitals, medical technology companies and others who have made commitments to eliminate preventable patient deaths have saved more than 6,200 lives since the inaugural summit in 2013.
Former President Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address this year and linked the greater economic expansion to the reduction of preventable patient deaths. Data show that preventable errors and patient death cost the U.S. healthcare system $1.26 trillion a year.
"Holding down health costs will help increase wages and help lift the economy," President Clinton said.
"More than ever, we are committed to defeating the tyranny of apathy that has led to more than 200,000 patients dying of preventable deaths in our hospitals each year," said Joe Kiani, founder of the Patient Safety Movement. "We're proud to say that through the hard work from all of us, we have saved one plus 6,213 lives--I say one plus 6,213 to emphasize that every life matters, and that even one preventable death is one too many."
Clinton has committed Clinton Global Initiative publicity resources to the foundation and also embraced the Patient Safety Movement's vision for the Patient Data Super Highway, a big-data network enabled with predictive algorithms, which could be made possible if all medical technology providers made their devices interoperable to communicate through EHR systems. The system could arm clinicians and patients with historical and real-time medical data for better outcomes.
Clinton chided technology companies that continue to thwart interoperability. "It's just a mistake. It's the difference between life and death for people. You can't have a position where you know what you're doing is costing lives."
Michael Bell, MD, deputy director of Division of Healthcare Quality at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agrees with Clinton and challenged companies that design EHR systems to make their products interoperable and more patient-friendly. "We know that EHRs are great for billing," Bell said. "But what would they look like if they were designed to make me a better doctor? And as a patient, why isn't an EHR helping me navigate my health? There needs to be a service element to the EHR."