Campaign Aims to Save Patients by Curbing Medical Mistakes

Both Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Capital Regional Medical Center are getting ready to submit some critical numbers that document the difference between life and death.

Both hospitals are participating in a campaign designed to curb medical mistakes, improve patient care and ultimately save lives.

Tallahassee Memorial is among more than 2,000 hospitals nationwide that have signed up for the "100,000 Lives Campaign."

And since TMH started making changes and tracking data in 2002, its mortality rate has dropped significantly.

Fain Folsom, RN, says, "An 18 percent decline in our overall unadjusted mortality rate over the last two years, and we're starting to see a lot of changes in these different packages where care is getting better and better."

The packages she's talking about are guidelines designed to help hospitals lower deaths by avoiding mistakes with medication, reducing the risk of infections, responding to crises more quickly and adopting better protocols for heart attack patients.

Diane Dusenbury of TMH Performance Support says, "Really the results are what matters and we've seen a large reduction in our mortality for patients who are having heart attacks. We've seen a 50 percent reduction."

The first measure of the success of the 100,000 Lives Campaign comes later this month when hospitals nationwide, including Tallahassee Memorial and Capital Regional, publish their first batch of data that represents lives lost and lives saved.

We also spoke with Wendy Cimini with Capital Regional. She happened to be out of town Friday, but says this campaign is part of a trend toward better public disclosure and gives patients another way to evaluate their neighborhood hospitals.