“I-PASS” Initiative to Improve Patient Care and Reduce Medical Errors
According to a press release from the Children's Hospital Boston, “I-PASS,” a new patient safety and medical education initiative, will improve how patient care is “handed off” during hospital shift changes, reducing medical errors by up to 40 percent. The “I-PASS” acronym stands for illness severity, patient summary, action list for the next team, situation awareness for contingency plans, and synthesis and “read-back” of information.
The initiative is being piloted in 10 pediatric training programs across North America, and the curriculum is expected to be shared both nationally and internationally to improve communication during residents’ shift changes. This process could help reduce communication-related sentinel events (the most serious errors in hospitals) by up to 70 percent, according to national data. “Despite many efforts, medical errors continue to be very common worldwide, and frequently cause harm to patients,” says I-PASS principal investigator Christopher P. Landrigan, MD, MPH, Research and Fellowship Director of the Inpatient Pediatrics Service at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Reducing handoff errors is a highly promising strategy for improving patient safety. We hope that I-PASS will improve the safety of care across pediatric and adult hospitals once it’s widely disseminated.”
Before implementing I-PASS, the Boston Children’s Hospital analyzed results from a preliminary handoff program. The findings showed a 40 percent reduction in medical errors after implementation (32 percent before, as opposed to 19 percent after), as well as doctors spending more time with patients (225 minutes per 24 hour period after implementation, against 122 minutes prior).
This new initiative aims to reduce medical errors by creating a more effective communication system between residents’ work shifts. By increasing the amount of time doctors spend with patients, the new system will ultimately foster better patient care.
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