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St. Joseph’s in 100,000 Lives Campaign 

Press Release

St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center

St. Joseph’s helps save lives with participation in 100,000 Lives Campaign

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – It has been announced that the 18-month 100,000 Lives Campaign, an unprecedented nationwide initiative that St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center participated in along with other hospitals throughout the country, contributed to an estimated 122,300 saved lives.

The landmark Campaign, which was initiated by the non-profit Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in December of 2004, challenged United States hospitals to join forces in saving at least 100,000 lives through the implementation of six proven healthcare interventions. More than 3,000 facilities – 75 percent of the country’s hospital beds – participated in the nationwide Campaign, whose results were recently released by Dr. Donald Berwick, President and CEO of IHI.

“When we decided to launch the Campaign, we didn’t know if hospitals could take on another challenge,” Dr. Berwick said, “but they have risen to the challenge impressively. The participating hospitals not only prevented an estimated 122,300 unnecessary deaths, they have also proven that it’s possible for the healthcare community to come together voluntarily to rapidly make significant changes in patient care.

“I have never before witnessed such widespread collaboration and commitment on the part of both healthcare leaders and front-line staff members in moving the system giant steps forward.”

Participating hospitals had to agree to implement at least one of the Campaign’s six evidence-based interventions. About one third of the participating institutions, however, went so far as to implement all six interventions and St. Joseph’s decided it wanted to be a part of that group.

“It was a pretty impressive undertaking to implement all six interventions, but we felt like it was the right thing to do,” said St. Joseph’s Performance Improvement Director Anita Gottlieb. “It was the first time in history that hospitals from across the United States banded together to see how they could improve care overall, and we just felt like we should do as much as we could to help that along.

“Through the process of doing so, we significantly decreased our cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia and surgical site infections.”

Following is the list of six IHI interventions St. Joseph’s implemented:

-Activate a rapid response team at the first sign that a patient’s condition is worsening and may lead to a more serious medical emergency.
-Prevent patients from dying of heart attacks through evidence-based care, such as the administration of aspirin and beta-blockers to prevent further heart muscle damage.
-Prevent medication errors by ensuring that accurate and continually updated lists of patients’ medications are reviewed and reconciled during their hospital stay, particularly at transition points.
-Prevent patients who are receiving medicines and fluids through central lines from developing infections by following five steps, including proper hand washing and cleaning the patient’s skin with chlorhexidine (a type of antiseptic).
-Prevent patients undergoing surgery from developing infections by following a series of steps, including the timely administration of antibiotics.
-Prevent patients on ventilators from developing pneumonia by following four steps, including raising the head of the patient’s bed between 30 and 45 degress.

“The IHI surpassed the number of organizations they projected to come on board because people got excited about the basic concept of saving lives,” said Lynn Pellegrino, St. Joseph’s Clinical Outcomes Coordinator. “They provided us with very good tools and the campaign continually kept you energized and challenged. Co-workers quickly became sold on the simplicity of the campaign and got very excited about the great administrative approach.

“They not only said sign us up, they said sign us up for all six interventions. Implementing all six interventions was the right thing to do because they are all about saving lives.”

IHI expects to announce the next stage of its healthcare improvement initiative at its National Forum in December, but until then it is committed to fully spreading the Campaign’s six improvement interventions throughout each participating facility, with an eye on enacting plans to sustain gains in performance.

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