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

, and using hard data about infection rates," said co-author Charles Bosk, a professor of sociology in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences and a senior fellow in the Center for Bioethics at Penn.

Infection rates were continuously monitored at hospitals participating in the programme, making it easier for hospital workers to track how well they were doing and where they needed to improve.

The authors conclude that that there are important lessons for others attempting patient safety improvements. Checklists were an essential component, but not necessarily the most important element of the Michigan programme.

"The programme was much more than a checklist," said lead author Mary Dixon-Woods, professor of medical sociology at the University of Leicester, "It involved a community of people who over time created supportive relationships that enabled doctors and nurses in many hospitals to learn together, share good practice, and exert positive pressure on each other to achieve the best outcomes for patients."

"What we have learned is that it is the local teams that deliver the results", said Dr Bosk. "But they need to be well supported by a core project team, who have to focus on enabling hospital workers to get things right. That means providing them with scientific expertise to justify the changes they are being asked to make, and standardising measures so they are all collecting the same data. It also means trying to figure out why simple changes that make life better are so difficult for health care delivery systems to do. Getting the whole programme to work, rather than compliance with a single one component, is the key to making health care safer for patients."

"No one discipline has the answer to patient safety problems. We have to bring together contributions from clinical medicine and the social sciences to make real progress in this area" added Dr Provonost. This month, Dr. Pronovost was named director of Johns
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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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