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About the Partnership

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Patient safety advocate Sorrel King talks about the Partnership for Patients and the loss of her child due to medical errors.

The Partnership for Patients is focused on making hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly through the achievement of two goals:

  • Making Care Safer. By the end of 2014, preventable hospital-acquired conditions would decrease by 40% compared to 2010.  Achieving this goal would mean approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients.
  • Improving Care Transitions. By the end of 2014, preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another would be decreased so that all hospital readmissions would be reduced by 20% compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean more than 1.6 million patients will recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization within 30 days of discharge.

The preliminary evaluation report (PDF) and appendix (PDF) provides insights on progress towards achieving these goals, in addition to HHS Secretary Sylvia H.  Burwell press release in December 2014.

Patient Safety Areas of Focus

The Partnership for Patients has identified ten core patient safety areas of focus that include nine hospital-acquired conditions. The Partnership will not limit its work to these areas, but the following areas of focus are important places to begin.

  1. Adverse Drug Events
  2. Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
  3. Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections
  4. Injuries from Falls and Immobility
  5. Obstetrical Adverse Events
  6. Pressure Ulcers
  7. Surgical Site Infections
  8. Venous Thromboembolism
  9. Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia
  10. Readmissions


Making Care Safer. Ten years after publication of the Institute of Medicine’s report To Err Is Human- Opens in a new window, researchers identified - Opens in a new window rates of medical harm —that is, injuries to patients associated with their care—in excess of 25 events per 100 admissions. A recent study by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) (PDF) - Opens in a new window found that 13% of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries experience adverse events resulting in prolonged hospital stay, permanent harm, life-sustaining intervention, or death. Almost half of those events are considered preventable.

Improving Care Transitions Care transitions refer to the movement of patients from one health care provider or setting to another. For people living with serious and complex illnesses, transitions in setting of care (from hospital to home or nursing home, for example) are prone to errors. For example, one in five patients discharged from the hospital to home experience an adverse event within three weeks of discharge, when an adverse event is defined as an injury resulting from medical management rather than the underlying disease. The most common adverse events are medication related; they often can be avoided or mitigated. The current rate for hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries within 30 days of discharge, one indicator of the appropriateness of the transition process, is nearly 20%, contributing to lower patient satisfaction and rising health care costs.

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