Science/Medicine
3:44 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Sebelius, in Detroit, pushes hospitals to reduce patient harm

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius toured facilities at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital Friday.

Sebelius was there to promote the department’s Partnership for Patients initiative. More than 1500 hospitals have signed on so far.

That program aims to save more than 60,000 lives over three years, by cutting preventable injuries and complications that result from hospital visits.

Sebelius says about one in three Americans leave hospitals in worse shape than when they arrived.

“If two jumbo jets a day fell out of the sky and everyone was killed, it wouldn’t be long until people said we’ve got something very wrong here. More patients than that die every die because of what’s happening to them in the health care system.”

The program encourages hospitals to adopt “best practice processes” to reduce patient harm.

Dr. Mark Kelley is CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Association. He says what’s missing in medicine right now is a standard, common-sense safety protocol across the health care system.

“In health care, we’re just discovering those sorts of things. And most of those things are very simple. But if you miss them, they’re disastrous.”

Henry Ford adopted a similar “No Harm Campaign” in 2007. Since then, the hospital system says it’s reduced patient harm rates by 25%.