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Health Quality - The Science of Patient Safety
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When: Special - Fifth Wednesday of the month
From 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM
Where: 218-844-0840 access code 493732#

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The Science of Patient Safety with Peter Pronovost and Jeffrey Cohn

MP3 File


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It’s been more than 10 years since the Institute of Medicine published To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Accreditation standards are stricter, many states require the reporting of serious medical errors, and Medicare will no longer pay for certain complications of in-hospital care. Today we have some success stories, but little evidence of significant improvement in patient outcomes.

How often have you read of an innovative patient safety intervention and wondered if it might work at your hospital? Both hospitals and interventions are complex, and what works well in one setting may not be appropriate or effective in another.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality sponsored an international group of experts in patient safety and evaluation methods to develop criteria to improve the design, evaluation, and reporting of practice research in patient safety. Peter Pronovost is an author of their report. You may view the abstract, or download a .pdf of the full article if you or your institution subscribes to Annals of Internal Medicine.

Peter brings the viewpoint of a scientist and researcher; Jeff brings the viewpoint of a practitioner in a hospital setting who both uses research findings and tries to make his own improvement work accessible and useful to other hospitals. Please bring your own experience and your questions to this conversation.

Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD, FCCM, is a practicing anesthesiologist and critical care physician and a professor in the departments of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine, Surgery and Health Policy and Management who is dedicated to finding ways to make hospitals and health care safer for patients. He is Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality and Director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins Medicine.

He has developed a scientifically proven method for reducing the deadly infections associated with central line catheters. His simple but effective checklist protocol virtually eliminated these infections saving 1,500 lives and $100 million annually across the State of Michigan. The checklist protocol is now being implemented across the United States, state by state, and helped reduce these infections by 60%. Several other countries are also implementing the program.

Peter has chronicled his work helping improve patient safety in his new book, Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor’s Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care from the Inside Out. In addition, he has also published more than 400 articles related to patient safety and the measurement and evaluation of safety efforts. He serves in an advisory capacity to the World Health Organizations’ World Alliance for Patient Safety.

The winner of several national awards, including the 2004 John Eisenberg Patient Safety Research Award and a coveted MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, known popularly as the "genius grant.” Peter was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 "most influential people” in the world for his work in patient safety.

Peter regularly addresses Congress on the importance of patient safety, prompting a report by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform strongly endorsing Peter’s ICU infection prevention program.

Jeffrey Cohn, MD, MHCM, is the Chief Quality Officer and Patient Safety Officer for the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, PA. He was the Principal Investigator at Einstein in the RWJF-sponsored Positive Deviance and Prevention of MRSA Transmission initiative. Jeff is now the executive sponsor of Einstein’s organization-wide CUSP implementation initiative. He serves as the Board of Trustees Chair of Plexus Institute.

Jeff graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1980. He received his Internal Medicine training at Albert Einstein Medical Center from 1980-1983. He was a fellow in Hematology/Medical Oncology at Emory University from 1983-1985 and did an Oncology research fellowship at Johns Hopkins from 1985-1986. Dr. Cohn served as the Community Co-Chair on the Lymphoma Steering Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group from 1991-2002. He received a Masters in Healthcare Management from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2005.

Jeff has been married for 34 years to Marcie, his high-school sweetheart, and has two children, Alison and Joshua.


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