Most Dangerous Trends Facing Hospitals - What's Wrong Here? In America, Flying is Safer Than Being Treated in a Hospital

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One group of visionaries is making healthcare demonstrably safer in institutions across the country by teaching doctors and nurses the very skills pilots use everyday to make air travel safe

MEMPHIS, TN (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- According to LifeWings Partners LLC, a recent survey of medical errors published in Health Affairs reveals that 34% of U.S. patients with critical health problems experience medical mistakes. Furthermore, this error rate was the highest among the six developed nations studied (United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and U.K.). For 20% of the patients, communication between patients and hospital staff was a factor when errors occurred.

Alternatively, the United States historically has one of the safest records in the world for commercial flying. Today, the death risk from flying is in the ballpark of 1 in 8 million. The FAA describes this in simpler terms, "If a passenger facing a death risk of one in eight million chose one flight at random each day, she would, on average, go for 21,000 years before perishing in a fatal crash." (Hinson, 1996)

*(Photo Caption: Photo of Steve Harden, President of LifeWings Partners LLC.)

Clearly, a need for better patient care exists in medical facilities large and small. LifeWings Partners LLC, a group of former fighter pilots, astronauts, and active physicians has contracted with many health care providers across the United States to apply proven aviation-based crew resource management training to healthcare providers. The LifeWings training adapts and implements in healthcare the same teamwork training and safety tools used by aviators to make aviation so safe. The medical community is learning that applying these principles to healthcare delivery can provide measurable improvements for their patients.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center's (VUMC) partnership with LifeWings is one such success story. In 2003, VUMC committed to undertaking a structured, long-term effort to improve patient safety and contracted with LifeWings Partners LLC to facilitate this goal. After implementing the LifeWings training, Vanderbilt successfully eliminated wrong surgeries, improved expected-to-observed mortality ratios, opened fewer malpractice case files, and ranked highest among all hospitals in the Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey for patient safety indicators.

Steve Harden, President of LifeWings Partners LLC, comments, "We already know how to improve our #6 ranking in the survey of national error rates... commercial aviation has shown us the way. As evidenced by the results at Vanderbilt and other hospitals that implemented an aviation-based patient safety system, U.S. healthcare can dramatically improve its safety ranking by learning from aviation and other high reliability organizations."

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Note: Aviation statistics taken from the following website:

LifeWings Partners LLC, 9198 Crestwyn Hills Drive, Memphis, TN 38125

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REFERENCES: , , Steve Harden, LifeWings Partners LLC,, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, VUMC, aviation-based patient safety system, healthcare delivery, critical health problems experience medical mistakes, Health Affairs, Life Wings, Memphis, TN, pr hotline, prhotline, making healthcare demonstrably safer, news, press release from LifeWings Partners LLC, Jan 24, 2006, Medical Business Services, , , , , Most Dangerous Trends Facing Hospitals - What's Wrong Here? In America, Flying is Safer Than Being Treated in a Hospital