AHA, AONL Detail Progress Since Landmark Safety Report

U.S. hospitals made significant strides following a 1999 Institute of Medicine report, which issued an urgent call for health systems to improve quality and safety. That’s the view of Robyn Begley, DNP, RN, AONL CEO and American Hospital Association (AHA) senior vice president/chief nursing officer and Jay Bhatt, MPH, DO, AHA senior vice president and chief medical officer. To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System inspired hospitals to spend the last 20 years fostering a culture of safety, the two wrote in Fierce Healthcare. Progress included more empowered patients, greater care coordination, increased transparency and improved communication among care team members. In the last two decades, hospitals also adopted electronic health records and other technologies supporting patient safety.

The focus on safety resulted in reductions in avoidable readmissions, hospital-acquired conditions and health care-associated infections, and saved money for hospitals in the AHA Hospital Improvement Innovation Network. Looking ahead, health systems are engaged in collaborative efforts to further reduce infections, improve antibiotic stewardship and address “persistent inequities in care by connecting quality and safety efforts to equity in care.” (Fierce Healthcare story, 11/25/19)