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International team works out secrets of one of world's most successful patient safety programs
Date:6/16/2011

A team of social scientists and medical and nursing researchers in the United States and the United Kingdom has pinpointed how a programme, which ran in more than 100 hospital intensive care units in Michigan, dramatically reduced the rates of potentially deadly central line bloodstream infections to become one of the world's most successful patient safety programmes.

Funded in part by the Health Foundation in the UK, the collaboration between researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Leicester and the University of Pennsylvania, has led to a deeper understanding of how patient safety initiatives like the Michigan programme can succeed.

"Explaining Michigan: developing an ex post theory of a quality improvement programme" by Mary Dixon-Woods and Emma-Louise Aveling of the University of Leicester; Charles Bosk of the University of Pennsylvania and Christine Goeschel and Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins University, is published in the June 2011 edition of Milbank Quarterly.

"We knew this programme worked. It not only helped to eliminate infections, it also reduced patient deaths," said programme leader Peter Pronovost of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who was named as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in 2008 and was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, or 'genius grant,' from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. "The challenge was to figure out how it worked".

The researchers found that one of the Michigan programme's most important features is that it explicitly outlined what hospitals had to do to improve patient safety, while leaving specific requirements up to the hospital personnel. A critical aspect of the programme was convincing participants that there was a problem capable of being solved together.

"It was achieved by a combination of story-telling about real-life tragedies of patients who came to unnecessary harm in hospital
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Contact: Mary Dixon-Woods
md11@le.ac.uk
44-116-229-7262
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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