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Primary Children's and U of U Hospitals Report 30% Reduction in Errors with IPASS

File: Primary Children's Hospital

A new multi-hospital study for patient safety, that included Primary Children’s Hospital and the University of Utah School of Medicine, confirmed a 30 percent reduction in medical errors through basic communication between healthcare workers.

It is estimated that up to 80% of the most serious medical errors can be linked to communication between clinicians. Dr. James Bale is a child neurologist at Primary Children’s and was a principal investigator for the study.

“Hospitals are potentially dangerous places because of the amount of information and really serious information that gets transmitted all the time every day,” says Bale.

Dr. Bale says regulations changed in 2011 that restrict the working hours of residents which dramatically increased the number of hand-offs between patient care providers. He says IPASS, which is a system of communication and training tools for hand-off of patient care, is already making its way into the U Med School and to hospitals around the world.

“One of the beauties of this to me is one final part of that IPASS memory tool is the ‘S’ which is synthesis by the receiver. Meaning, the individual who receives the information is now really given the opportunity to read it back, to describe what they’ve just heard, to ensure that they’ve actually heard the information correctly,” says Bale.

Lead researchers of the 9-hospital study are at the Boston Children’s Hospital.  Brigham and Women’s Hospital served as the data-coordinating center. The study was reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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