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Study: New initiative can reduce hospital errors

Rachel Wheeler Archive
A new healthcare initiative, I-PASS, is now being used by a handful of pediatric training programs around North America to improve data quality and reduce medical errors caused by patients being "handed off" during shift changes.

I-PASS is an acronym used by providers to help pass off important information during shift changes. The mnemonic stands for "illness severity, patient summary, action list for the next team, situation awareness and contingency plans, and synthesis of the data."

"Despite many efforts, medical errors continue to be very common worldwide and frequently cause harm to patients," said Christopher Landrigan, 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."

The pilot study of the program found that medical errors were reduced by 40 percent while using I-PASS.

According to the American Medical Association, roughly 12,000 deaths occur in U.S. hospitals each year because of unnecessary surgery, while another 20,000 fatalities are caused from other errors and miscommunication.

By using the I-PASS technique, healthcare providers may be able to improve data quality passed on to colleagues and reduce common problems that arise within facilities.