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Program to Reduce Medical Mistakes

“Five Million Lives Campaign"
Since December 2006, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has asked hospitals across the U.S. to join its revolutionary program called the "Five Million Lives Campaign."

Intended to end in January 2009, this program is a national effort to improve doctor-patient communication and to reduce the number of lives lost due to medical mistakes.

Tragically, over 40,000 medical mistakes occur in the U.S. every day. Over a year's time, such medical mistakes affect over 15 million Americans. Consequently, it's no surprise that medical mistakes are the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S.

How "5 Million Lives" Works
To combat such harm and help save lives, the IHI has asked healthcare facilities to adopt 12 "interventions," or changes.

Of the 12 interventions associated with this campaign, the following six were changes adopted from former campaigns:

  • Using "rapid response teams" that are called into action upon a decline in patients' health
  • Administering reliable care for heart attacks
  • Reconciling patients' medications to prevent negative drug interactions
  • Preventing "central line infections," infections involving a catheter placed in patients' veins (and usually extending to their hearts)
  • Properly using preoperative antibiotics to prevent infections at surgical sites
  • Using new techniques to prevent pneumonia arising from use of ventilators.

In addition to these, the IHI also asked hospitals to incorporate the following new interventions:

  • Pay special attention to "high-alert" medications (such as sedatives, insulin, etc.).
  • Implement the "Surgical Care Improvement Program" to minimize complications due to surgery.
  • Use new guidelines for preventing pressure ulcers, which occur when a section of skin deteriorates due to lack of movement and constant pressure.
  • Reduce the incidence of staph (MRSA) infections by using protective clothing and the necessary precautionary efforts.
  • Quickly, reliably treat cases of congestive heart failure to prevent worsening heart problems.
  • Involve members of the hospitals' boards of directors in these changes so that they are implemented faster and more extensively.

While this essential campaign still has a few months in action, it has already made a difference in healthcare across the nation, as hundreds of thousands of lives have already been saved.

(Source: The Discovery Channel)

Have you been harmed by a medical mistake? If so, contact us to speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who will provide you with legal advice, represent your case in court and help you win your highly deserved settlement.

 


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