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Quality & Patient Safety

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Our Continued Commitment

The Institute of Medicine's December 1999 report, "To Err Is Human," put the entire healthcare community on high alert. It told us medical errors in hospitals account for between 48,000 and 98,000 deaths per year in the U.S.

The report prompted Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) to commit to creating a culture of patient safety throughout its 190 hospitals. Thomas F. Frist, Jr., MD, HCA's co-founder and former chairman, is fond of saying "putting patients first" is the secret of success in healthcare. This simple statement quickly became the foundation of HCA's culture and passion for patient safety and led to the development of the following goals:

  • Establish patient safety as a visible commitment to our "putting patients first" philosophy
  • Move from blaming people to improving processes
  • Improve use of technology to prevent and detect error
  • Use data to identify and measure improvements

Using published evidence-based strategies known to prevent errors, the company began developing patient safety initiatives for implementation in each of its facilities. The company organized teams of clinical experts and healthcare managers from facilities around the country and charged them with finding solutions for ensuring patient safety. The efforts progressed rapidly through their collective knowledge and synergy. Patient safety solutions were tested in a few facilities and, once perfected, were rolled out to all HCA hospitals.

Patients at HCA facilities are now benefiting from the evidence-based patient safety programs HCA has implemented and continues to implement. The company and its hospitals are engaged now, more than ever, in creating solutions that make it easy to do things right and difficult to do them wrong.

The work is just beginning. One of the most significant challenges ahead is the need to continually improve the culture of safety. The HCA mission statement affirms, "Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life." This is the reason HCA is continually sharing its mistakes and successes with other healthcare providers. HCA believes healthcare providers, working together, can eliminate many patient safety concerns.