Chasing Zero

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Chasing Zero is a documentary which was meant to both educate the viewer on the prevalence of medical harm as well as to enlighten both the public and health care providers on the preventability of these events (Discovery, 2010). The documentary expounded on the fact each year more people die each year from a preventable medical error than die due to breast cancer, motor vehicle accidents or AIDS (Institute of Medicine, 1999). Medical harm can result from adverse drug events, surgical injuries, wrong-site surgery, suicides, restraint-related injuries, falls, burns, pressure ulcers and mistaken patient identities (Institute of Medicine, 1999). Incidences of medical error have been reported in the media for many years. The most startling revelation in the documentary is how common medical errors are and how preventable they are. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported in 1999 that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die each year in the United States due to a preventable medical error. A report written by the National Quality Forum (NQF) found that over a decade after the IOM report the prevalence of medical errors remains very high (2010). In fact a study done by the Hearst Corporation found that the number of deaths due to medical error and post surgical infections has increased since the IOM first highlighted the problem and recommended actions to reduce the number of events (Dyess, 2009). The premise of “Chasing Zero” is to reduce the number of deaths due to healthcare harm to zero. Leading authorities on healthcare quality, such as Charles Denham, believe that all of these deaths are preventable and can be eliminated (Discovery, 2010). Dr. Denham along with the Texas Medical Institute of Technology (TMIT) are dedicat... ... middle of paper ... ...vers, clinical and non-clinical leaders of hospitals and international subject matter experts. The Texas Medical Institute of Technology, through programs such as Chasing Zero, is bringing a public voice to the issue of healthcare harm. The documentary is a stirring example of the quality issues facing the healthcare system. In 2003, the NQF first introduced the 30 Safe Practices for Better Healthcare, which it hoped all hospitals would adopt (National Quality Forum, 2010). Today the list has grown to 34, yet the number of preventable healthcare harm events continues to rise. The lack of standardization and mandates which require the reporting of events contributes to the absence of meaningful improvement. Perhaps through initiatives such as those developed by TMIT and the vivid and arresting patient stories such as Chasing Zero, change will soon be at hand.

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