Our hospital neighbors to the north in New Hampshire have just taken a decisive step that presents a healthy challenge to the so-called "medical Mecca" in Massachusetts. Steve Ahnen at the New Hampshire Hospital Association writes to say:
Yesterday, we launched our initiative to eliminate harm in New Hampshire's hospitals by the year 2015. While we are proposing to eliminate all harm, our efforts will be clearly focused on those instances of harm that could be prevented if all of the evidence based practices had been followed that are known to prevent that harm.
This is such a terrific effort. It is putting a stake in the ground for our hospitals and they are excited and ready to move forward. We have lots to learn and hope to share that learning as we go.
You can find a copy of the press release here. Excerpts:
CONCORD – In a new effort to promote better and safer care to patients, the New Hampshire Hospital Association and Foundation for Healthy Communities have announced that hospitals across the state will strive to eliminate harm to patients by 2015. To accomplish this goal, hospitals will work together to consistently follow the processes of care that have been proven to increase patient safety.
“Hospitals in our state have made great strides in making improvements to quality of care,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. “With this initiative, we’ll continue that work with an even more ambitious purpose and timeline.”
While there are no uniformly accepted definitions, “harm” in the Eliminate Harm Initiative refers to an injury associated with medical care that requires or prolongs hospitalization and/or results in permanent disability or death.
. . . Greg Walker, chairman of the Foundation for Healthy Communities and CEO of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, said, “The boards of trustees of both the New Hampshire Hospital Association and Foundation for Healthy Communities unanimously passed a resolution to make this happen, and the CEOs of all 26 acute care hospitals are ready.”
A statewide steering committee will spearhead the N.H. Eliminate Harm Initiative and identify which aspects of harm hospitals will be targeted for elimination. Several hospitals are represented on that committee. Hospitals in New Hampshire already have been working for several years on improving patient care, including efforts to decrease infection rates through a campaign to promote hand washing among health care providers. Hospitals also are decreasing harm in the operating room by using a patient safety checklist before and during all procedures. Hospitals receive guidelines and tools that are used statewide to help them measure their progress.
“Our hospitals are poised to deliver the best health care in the country,” said Bruce King, immediate past chair of the NHHA board of trustees and CEO of New London Hospital. “The residents of New Hampshire are counting on us.”