Safe & Sound
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report estimating that up to 98,000 patients in this country die each year from medical mistakes. Knowing that healthcare professionals are passionate about curing disease and saving lives, we were stunned by the numbers. Why was so much preventable harm happening?
Safe care has always been our highest priority, but the IOM report spurred us to re-examine how we deliver care at Hopkins Children’s. The result was a new pediatric safety program launched in 2001, called “Safe and Sound,” that brought the full weight of our institution into play. Collaborative teams of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, allied health professionals and staff showed us that patient care, while still very much a hands-on, human endeavor, had become more complex and more system driven – and only by fundamentally changing the underlying systems could we get to the root of the problem and prevent future errors.
In other words, we had to shift our emphasis from expecting perfection in individuals to reducing risks by changing systems at every point of care. We also had to change our culture, from one in which some staff were reluctant to question a senior clinician’s orders – compromising essential double-check procedures – to an open, proactive culture of patient safety.
Here we discuss our safety initiatives – the ones we’ve developed over the past decade, as well as the ones being created today and conceived for tomorrow. Safe care, we’ve recognized, is an ongoing job. We’ll also share here the makeup of our safety teams, our latest news related to patient safety, events and speakers on our safety calendar, resources to learn more about “best practices” in patient safety, and what you can do to promote patient safety.