From the GIC Summer 2002 Newsletter
Help is here to assist the GIC with our efforts to help reduce medical mistakes. In April the Leapfrog Group, a national coalition of large employers and government agencies committed to improving patient safety, expanded into Massachusetts. This means that other employers, including Fidelity, Verizon, and General Electric, will be seeking the same kind of patient safety information to report to their employees. "We cannot improve patient safety alone," said Dolores L. Mitchell, GIC's Executive Director. "We welcome the help and support of fellow Leapfrog members, who are similarly committed to helping their employees make informed decisions about where to seek care."
Tens of thousands of Americans die and many more are injured each year from preventable medical mistakes made in hospitals, according to the Institute of Medicine. The GIC was the first Massachusetts organization to join the Leapfrog Group (www.leapfroggroup.org). Our HMO contracts, which began on July 1, 2001, included a timeline for gathering, reporting, and communicating hospital data on three key safety measures developed by the Leapfrog Group, proven to reduce medical mistakes. Research conducted by Dartmouth Medical School indicates that these three improvements could save up to 58,300 lives per year and prevent 522,000 medication errors if implemented by all non-rural hospitals in the United States:
- Use of computerized prescription systems (computer physician order entry - CPOE)
- Selection of hospitals with extensive experience for certain high-risk conditions and procedures
- Staffing Intensive Care Units (ICUs) with board-certified critical care physicians
"Although we received this data for many of the area's hospitals, gaps and discrepancies remain," said Dolores L. Mitchell. "By gathering this information, with the help of our health plans and other health care purchasers, we will be able to reduce the number of patients harmed or killed by preventable medical errors across the Commonwealth".
Our new Select Quality Care Tool, provided by CIGNA, includes Leapfrog data on a constantly updated basis (see page one of the GIC Summer 2002 Newsletter for a related article.) Indemnity, PLUS and Indemnity Medicare Extension Plan members also have access to Making Healthy Decisions, which also provides this information.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.