What's being done
The Lake to River Health Coalition and area hospitals are taking steps to increase patient safety with computerized drug prescription systems.
The Lake to River Health Care Coalition, 258 E. Market St., Warren, is made up of 55 organizations, representing business, industry, labor, education and medical providers and insurers, that monitors health-care quality, cost and access in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
The Institute of Medicine, in a 1999 study, concluded that "up to 98,000 Americans die each year from preventable medical mistakes during hospitalization," more deaths than are caused from vehicle accidents, breast cancer or AIDS.
The Leapfrog Group, founded by The Business Roundtable, a national association of Fortune 500 chief executive officers, is a coalition of more than 90 public and private organizations that provide health care benefits. Leapfrog has three initiatives aimed at improving patient safety. They are:
Computer Physician Order Entry , a system in which doctors prescribe drugs using hand-held computers rather than writing prescriptions by hand. Studies show CPOE can reduce serious medication mistakes by up to 86 percent.
Evidence-based Hospital Referral, whereby patients facing high-risk conditions or procedures are sent to hospitals with the most experience and the best patient recovery track records. More than 100 scientific studies have demonstrated a relationship between a hospital's annual number of certain high-risk treatments and procedures and patient outcomes.
ICU Physician Staffing , where "intensivists" (physicians specially trained to care for critically ill patients in intensive care), staff Intensive Care Units. Studies reveal that at least one in 10 patients who die in ICUs would have an increased chance to live if intensivists were present and managing care for at least eight hours a day.
Source: Lake To River Health Care Coalition/Leapfrog Group

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