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Competing San Francisco Bay Area Hospitals Demonstrate That Collaborative Efforts Contribute to Reduced Hospital Errors and Saved Lives

Beacon Collaborative Hospitals Reduce Two Types of Infections That Would

Have Resulted in 194 Deaths Over 21 Month Period Receives $6.0 Million From Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to Continue

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Efforts

WALNUT CREEK, Calif., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Beacon Collaborative, a voluntary affiliation of 39 hospitals in five San Francisco Bay Area counties, announced today that reductions in the occurrence of two major types of hospital infections between April 1, 2006 and December 31, 2007 saved approximately 194 lives. The estimate of lives saved is based on a statistical analysis of mortality for ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP), and central line-associated bloodstream infections (CL-BSI), two infections that frequently occur in hospital intensive care units.

During the 21-month study period, hospitals participating in the Collaborative reduced VAP by 60 percent and CL-BSI by 66 percent. This resulted in 720 fewer infections than projected during the study period. The VAP improvement exceeds the best results reported by the National Healthcare Safety Network for 2006. The CL-BSI improvement meets or exceeds results reported in December 2006 in the New England Journal of Medicine for the highly respected Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality in Michigan.

Nationally, VAP accounts for over 35,000 annual deaths, at a cost of $9,969 per infection, and CL-BSI is estimated to result in 10,000 to 21,000 deaths per year, at a cost of $36,441 per infection.

Based on the Beacon analysis, the 120 lives saved by reducing VAP saved approximately $1.2 million, and the 74 lives saved by reducing CL-BSI infections saved approximately $2.7 million.

"The Bay Area is becoming a national model of patient safety and Beacon has emerged as one of the primary resources and catalysts for hospitals committed to reducing VAP and CL-BSI infections, as well as other hospital related errors or conditions," said Bruce Spurlock, MD, Beacon's executive director. "We constantly hear from hospital quality leaders how Beacon- sponsored collaboration with peers in the same geographic area, serving similar patient populations, enables them to learn from each other and adapt best practices, even though the hospitals themselves often compete fiercely for market share within their communities."

In addition to VAP and CL-BSI, Beacon hospitals select from ten other initiatives to track progress, compare results against Beacon-wide averages, and share the evidence-based tools and techniques needed to reduce errors that often lead to injury or death. Results for individual hospitals are confidential and do not generally include enough cases for valid comparison with overall, aggregated Collaborative results, according to Spurlock.

The other initiatives are: acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, medication reconciliation, rapid response teams, surgical care improvement, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), high-alert medication harm prevention, hospital-acquired pressure ulcer prevention, stroke and sepsis. Most hospitals are working on six or more initiatives.

"Beacon is a vital forum for hospital professionals committed to patient safety, a concern that transcends the business of healthcare and the natural competition that takes place between health systems," said Art Sponseller, president and CEO of the Hospital Council of Northern & Central California. "Above all, physicians, nurses and administrators in the Bay Area are committed to having the best healthcare system in the world. Beacon facilitates our ability to more rapidly improve how we provide evidence-based care and demonstrate excellence."

Beacon also announced today a new $6 million three-year grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF). The funding enables Beacon to continue innovative efforts to accelerate quality improvement and prevention of harm to the more than 450,000 patients admitted each year to its participating hospitals. Originally known as the Bay Area Patient Safety Collaborative, the effort was renamed Beacon Collaborative when GBMF provided nearly two million dollars in April 2007 for the second phase of the collaborative's work. The effort was initiated through the Hospital Council in 2005 as a communications hub for hospitals participating in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's "100,000 Lives Campaign."

GBMF funding goes toward Beacon support of individual hospital commitments to achieving significant measurable improvement for the initiatives selected. Hospitals are based in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, and Alameda counties.

Beacon has sponsored a variety of Webinars, workshops, and day-long conferences during the past 12 months, attended by well over 1,000 persons. The Beacon Institute offers intensive courses in the science of quality improvement to hospital quality leaders. A four-day program focuses on development of practical improvement projects that are tested in the participants' hospitals. Beacon staff includes two improvement advisors, Barbara Debaun, RN, MSN, CIC, and Pat Teske, RN, MHA, who teach the courses and consult with Beacon hospitals on their improvement initiatives.

"Beacon supports the already outstanding and multi-faceted efforts of Bay Area hospitals to reduce errors and assure patient safety," said Dr. Spurlock. "The GBMF grant enables us to provide educational programs, unique peer-to- peer learning networks, and most significantly -- a regional forum in which hospitals in the same community with shared values can collect patient safety data confidentially and compare their own performance against that of peers on several important patient safety initiatives."

Much of the impetus for patient safety across the nation and in the Bay Area was sparked by the 1999 landmark Institutes of Medicine study, "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System," which estimated that as many as 98,000 people die each year due to medical errors. Since that time, Bay Area hospitals have increasingly participated in both voluntary and mandatory efforts to improve quality and patient safety, some of which include public reporting of quality information.

"The Bay Area is emerging as a leader in high quality patient care, but there is still more to be done," said Marybeth Sharpe, PhD, who leads the Moore Foundation's Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative, under which the Beacon program resides. "Beacon is a critical vehicle for helping hospitals develop the skills, systems, and cultures needed to safeguard against dangerous and avoidable medical errors."

Beacon's second annual quality colloquium, "Pathways to Excellence in Patient Safety & Quality," is scheduled for April 22, 2008 in South San Francisco. More than 600 physicians, nurses, administrators and other quality professionals are expected to attend. In addition to 21 workshops on patient safety improvement themes, two nationally known experts and a prominent consumer advocate will speak: Kathleen Sutcliffe, PhD, author of "Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty," and Chip Heath, the N.Y. Times bestselling author of "Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die." Also speaking will be Victoria Nahum, co-founder of the Safe Care Campaign.

About Beacon

Beacon, the San Francisco Bay Area Patient Safety Collaborative, is a leading national patient safety effort focused on extensive peer-to-peer sharing, healthcare education, and training with the aim of ending inadvertent harm to hospitalized patients and improving the quality of healthcare for all. This voluntary network of nurses, physicians, clinicians and hospital leadership focuses on sharing practical ways to accelerate the implementation and replication of proven, evidence-based, patient safety interventions that save lives. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation funds Beacon. More information is available at

SOURCE Beacon Collaborative
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