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Consumers, Caregivers Taking Steps to Safer Surgery

Leading consumer advocacy groups have joined with the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) to improve patient safety during surgery and increase communication between patients and their caregivers. //

Of the 40 million inpatient and outpatient surgeries patients undergo each year, tens of thousands end up with associated postoperative complications. SCIP is working to prevent complications in four areas that comprise 40 percent of the most common complications after major inpatient surgery: infection, blood clots, and adverse cardiac and respiratory events.

SCIP is one of the first national quality improvement initiatives to unite hospital, physician and nursing organizations; the federal government; the organization that accredits hospitals; private sector experts; and now consumer advocacy groups in far-reaching surgical quality improvement. The goal is to use evidence-based measures to reduce preventable surgical complications nationwide by 25 percent by 2010.

The consumer groups – AARP and the National Partnership for Women and Families – collaborated with SCIP to develop a patient tip sheet that provides consumers with important information on ways to avoid surgical complications.

The tip sheet was introduced at a Washington, D.C., event today that featured Mike Leavitt, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Ilene Corina, co-founder of PULSE, a grassroots patient safety advocacy organization; and other SCIP members.

“Consumers and patients need information that will help them become active partners in their care,” said John Rother, AARP's Group Executive for Policy and Strategy. “SCIP supports improvement not only for hospitals and doctors, but for patients as well by giving them practical and actionable guidance that will contribute to the likelihood of better surgical outcomes.”

“Our goal is to spread this evidence-based knowledge to the public as well as hea lth care providers, so that every surgical patient receives the appropriate care every time. In doing this, we will save many thousands of lives,” said Debra Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families.

“SCIP is a national quality initiative that aligns with one of the five key strategies of the CMS Quality Roadmap: CMS must work collaboratively with other health care partners in improving health care quality,” said Barry Straube, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality at HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “SCIP will allow consumers to be better informed and enable health providers to make the necessary systematic improvements that CMS and its partners feel will improve patient outcomes, while reducing avoidable complications and costs.”


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