Joe Biden Aims at Improving Patient Safety

Joe Biden Patient Safety



Vice President Joe Biden recently attended a conference in Irvine, California, where he made an important statement regarding the fact that hospitals need to place more focus on reducing preventable errors and government should be creating more economic incentives that would help improve patient safety.

Time to Link Quality with Safety

Biden went on to state the following while at the conference, Up until now, our health care system, in my humble opinion, hasn’t sufficiently linked quality‚Ķwith safety. Not enough time has been focused on keeping bad things from happening. However, Biden also said that things are starting to change in that hospitals are now being penalized for unnecessary readmissions, while the latest forms of technology are being used to alert nurses of potential problems. It also means that nurses and other hospital staff do not have to rely on handwritten orders from doctors any longer.

Patient Safety Levels Improving

Another aspect that was noted by Biden was the fact that improvements have been made with regards to reducing central line infections and improving hand hygiene. A government report compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality stated that 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions had occurred and 50,000 fewer deaths had occurred in 2013 than in 2010. He stated, This is the time to double down on your commitment to patient safety. We’ve gone from accepting the inevitable to showing what’s absolutely within our wheelhouse to be able to change.

More can be done

The main sponsor of the conference was the Patient Safety Movement, which is an organization that aims to reach zero preventable patient deaths by 2020. Alicia Cole, a conference attendee and speaker, spent years recovering from hospital-acquired infections, among them sepsis, a staph infection and flesh-eating disease. She stated, Instead of getting better, I deteriorated. My life completely changed. Her condition caused her to stop working and require numerous additional surgeries.

Bringing Everyone Together

President of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, Jim Bialick, noted that it is essential to bring doctors, patients and technology companies together to find solutions. He stated, Traditional methods aren’t working. He mentioned that he appreciates the government’s renewed focus on the issue at hand, in that its Partnership for Patients program is currently working with 3,700 hospitals in a bid to reduce readmissions and preventable infections. A large segment of the discussion revolved around sepsis, which has a mortality rate of as much as 50%. Getting treatment as quickly as possible is the key to reducing instances if this condition occurring.

Chris Fee, an associate professor of emergency medicine at UCSF, stated the following with regards to patients diagnosed with sepsis, We have to remember that patients can be very ill and look quite well. The project at UCSF started as a pilot and has been expanded to include the entire hospital. Fee went on to mention that it can be credited with reducing mortality rates from 18% in 2012 to 12% last year and saving more than 100 lives.

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