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To Err is Human Screening Spurs Community Dialogue on Patient Safety

On Friday, May 25, 2018, the Memphis healthcare community gathered for a screening of To Err is Human: A Patient Safety Documentary, followed by a panel discussion about shared solutions to reduce preventable medical mistakes among health care organizations throughout the Mid-South.

Hosted by the Memphis Business Group on Health, Southern College of Optometry, and the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, the event featured a sneak preview screening of Mike Eisenberg’s film To Err is Human. The film, set to be released in November 2018, explores the United States’ third-leading cause of death: medical mistakes, which lead to as many as 440,000 preventable deaths each year. It also follows Sue Sheridan, whose family experienced a variety of medical errors that caused long-term health issues.

Cristie Upshaw Travis, Chief Executive Officer of the Memphis Business Group on Health (far left) and Lewis Reich, President of Southern College of Optometry (far right) welcomed the filmmakers, Mike Eisenberg, Director and Producer, and Kailey Brackett, Lead Producer. 

Following the film, Cristie Upshaw Travis, MBGH CEO, moderated a first-of-its-kind panel discussion and Q&A session with representatives from Memphis’ four major hospital systems to address preventable medical mistakes and how their systems can work together to reduce error and improve care throughout the Mid-South. Participants (L-R) in the panel were:

  • Reginald Coopwood – Chief Executive Officer, Regional One Health
  • Jennifer Chiusano - Chief Nursing Officer, Saint Francis Hospital Memphis 
  • Michael Ugwueke – Chief Executive Officer, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
  • Cristie Upshaw Travis - Chief Executive Officer, Memphis Business Group on Health
  • Henry Sullivant – Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation

Here are some highlights from the discussion:

Although patient safety is a national issue, it’s especially prevalent in Memphis. According to the spring 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, just 20 percent of hospitals earned an A or B. This compares to 94 percent in Nashville, 81 percent in St. Louis, 62 percent in Birmingham, Alabama, and 50 percent in Jackson, Mississippi. 

Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation's Blue Brain project asks staff to "show their thinking"  so they can be properly trained to approach complex work and situations appropriately. Baptist has reduced bedside blood culture contamination by 50 percent through this method.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare requires all associates and medical staff to complete patient safety training in order to practice in their facilities or be scheduled for work.

Regional One Health focuses on the actual numbers of medical errors, not the error rates. Focusing on the numbers keeps the patient impact front-and-center -- each number is a patient that experienced harm.

Saint Francis Hospital Memphis senior leaders audit specific key processes, such as surgical safety measures, in real-time, to monitor compliance and identify opportunities for improvement. 

At the end of the discussion, it was suggested that the health systems identify a patient safety action they could all take together, at the same time, to have a significant improvement across the entire community. The health systems all going tobacco free campus on the same day increased the visibility of the harms from tobacco use; showed the health system leadership on a critical health issue; and provided a community standard for what it meant to work in healthcare in Memphis. A similar approach can be considered for patient safety.

Interested learning more? Contact Cristie at ctravis@memphisbusinessgroup.org.

Posted by Cristie Travis at 8:29 AM

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