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The United States is the world's recognized leader in health care, yet serious concerns persist about the quality and safety of care being delivered to patients. Can quality, which to patients simply means "good care," be improved in today's cost-conscious marketplace? Can caregivers reduce the number of health care errors — estimated by a 1999 Institute of Medicine report to kill as many as 98,000 hospital patients annually — be reduced?
These are questions that will be posed at the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' (JCAHO) 2001 National Conference entitled Promoting Quality and Patient Safety Across the Health Care Continuum, to be held Nov. 7-9 in Chicago.
Princeton University professor Uwe Reinhardt, who specializes in the economics of health care, will open the conference with a look at what health care organizations pay for quality efforts, as well as the cost of poor care. Other topics of discussion will include safe medication practices, patient safety indicators and the role of health care leaders in creating a culture of safety.
The second day of the conference will feature winners of the annual Codman Awards, recognizing health care organizations that use outcomes measures to achieve health care quality improvement. The winners will share details of their achievements.
Additional programs include strategies to create a blame-free environment to foster the reporting and analysis of medical errors; best practices for reducing errors; performance improvement; and innovations in health care technology to improve communication between care providers and patients.
Co-convened by the National Patient Safety Foundation and JCAHO, the third day of the conference will include an in-depth examination by a University of Chicago research specialist in the study of human error, Richard I. Cook, MD. He is scheduled to discuss the latest research on medical accidents, complex system failures, and human performance during his presentation, "Learning How to Learn About Patient Safety."
In addition, Brigham & Women's Hospital officials will share their experiences with developing a computerized physician order system that resulted in an 86% decrease in medication errors and enhanced compliance with standards related to allergic reactions, verbal orders, drug interactions, dosage, and laboratory interactions.
Cost of the national conference is $695. If registered prior to Oct. 7, the cost is discounted to $645. In addition, the pre-conference cost is $100. These fees have been lowered in honor of JCAHO's fiftieth anniversary this year. To register, call the Joint Commission's Customer Service Center at (630) 792-5800.