Putting Patients First

 Updated: April 20, 2017

Tom Kallstrom honored at third annual Patient Safety Summit

More than 200,000 people in the U.S. die in hospitals every year due to patient safety errors that could easily be fixed by implementing simple practices available to every hospital out there today.

Last weekend, leaders in the industry gathered for the third annual Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit in Irvine, CA, to address issues surrounding patient safety and brainstorm ways to minimize patient safety-related deaths in this country and around the world. Former President Bill Clinton and current Vice President Joe Biden delivered keynote addresses at the event, emphasizing the need for technology companies to work with health care providers and one another to reduce these deaths.

To companies that resist the technical interoperability needed to make that happen, President Clinton said, “It’s just a mistake. It’s the difference between life and death for people. You can’t have a position where you know what you’re doing is costing lives.”

AARC is on board

AARC leadership was there too and our CEO and executive director, Tom Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC, received a Humanitarian Award at which time he acknowledged the critical role of the members of the AARC whose efforts have helped reduce preventable deaths in our nation’s hospitals.

During his tenure at the Executive Office, Kallstrom has spearheaded efforts to develop Patient Safety Checklists and new evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines that reflect best practices in the profession that have been utilized by AARC members across the country.

The Association has also launched a Patient Safety Roundtable open to all AARC members, and at last year’s AARC Congress, Michael AE Ramsay, MD, FRCA, delivered a keynote address on patient safety with Patricia LaChance, a patient safety advocate who lost her husband after health professionals failed to adequately address his obstructive sleep apnea while he was in the hospital recovering from rotator cuff surgery.

“Patient safety has to be a number one priority for respiratory therapists as they care for and manage their patients,” said Kallstrom. “I was proud to accept this award on behalf of the AARC and all the RTs who work so hard to ensure their patients receive safe and effective care.”

Spreading the word

AARC member Kevin McQueen, MHA, RRT, a patient safety officer at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, CA, who heads up the Association’s Patient Safety Roundtable, was on hand at the conference as well, and he joined Patient Safety Movement founder Joe Kiani in speaking about the event and its key objectives during this segment on the CW TV station out of San Diego—

Growing list of action items

As noted in the video segment, the Patient Safety Movement is on a mission to eliminate patient safety errors by addressing simple measures that can be taken in hospitals today. These Actionable Patient Safety Solutions have targeted nine common patient safety problems—

  • Failure to Rescue: Post-Operative Respiratory Depression
  • Medication Errors
  • Sub-optimal Red Blood Cell Transfusion
  • Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections
  • Sub-optimal Neonatal Oxygen Targeting
  • Failure to Detect Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD)
  • Healthcare-associated Infections
  • Hand-off Communications
  • Culture of Safety

Last weekend, the organization added three more to the list: Early Detection of Sepsis, Patient and Provider Assertiveness, and Optimal Resuscitation.

It’s working

According to the Patient Safety Movement, these measures are already paying off. Since the first Summit convened in 2013, the more than 500 hospitals, medical technology companies, and others who have committed to eliminating preventable patient deaths have saved more than 6,200 lives.

“More than ever, we are committed to defeating the tyranny of apathy that has led to more than 200,000 patients dying of preventable deaths in our hospitals each year,” said Joe Kiani, who is CEO of Masimo, an AARC Corporate Partner. “We’re proud to say that through the hard work from all of us, we have saved one plus 6,213 lives—I say one plus 6,213 to emphasize that every life matters, and that even one preventable death is one too many.”