Zero Is the New Standard: Eliminating Preventable Deaths

Joe Kiani, founder of the Patient Safety Movement, explains why zero preventable deaths can and should be the new standard.

Zero Is the New Standard Eliminating Preventable Deaths
SPEAKING OUT: Kiani’s mission is to realize a world where we see zero preventable deaths as early as the year 2020.
 Oversights and errors can kill hospital patients. Those deaths are preventable.

“I decided to do everything I could do to eradicate these preventable deaths in hospitals,” says Joe Kiani, founder of the Patient Safety Movement, an advocate to wipe out by 2020 errors that cause preventable deaths.

When he read a 1999 medical report saying 100,000 people die from medical errors each year, Kiani thought a solution “would be imminent.” But even though doctors and institutions stepped in, the death statistics didn’t improve.

Two years later, a report said 200,000 Medicare patients suffered harm and death at hospitals every year.

“I realized the problem had not been solved and maybe had even gotten worse,” says Kiani, who then started the Patient Safety Movement, which is on track to save over 20,000 lives by their upcoming fourth annual Summit in January 2016.

Culture of safety

Achieving the zero errors goal starts by doing things differently than usual.

“Hospitals should have to publicize their rates of certain patient safety issues such as infections,” says Kiani who urges transparency to create a “culture of safety.”

“I decided to do everything I could do to eradicate these preventable deaths in hospitals.”

Other suggested changes: identifying which challenges are killing patients and asking medical tech companies to share the data their devices generate to help identify at-risk patients.

Currently, 838 hospitals and 42 medical technology companies are committed to the zero preventable deaths goals. Kiani urges everyone in the “health care ecosystem” to be involved. He also encourages patients to ask questions and be assertive: “You are a part of our own care team,” he says.

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