Every year tens of thousands of individuals are harmed by preventable medical errors. Many thousands die from these errors. And yet, we have the knowledge and tools to stop this tragedy. We know how to greatly reduce surgical complications and hospital acquired infections. What we need, however, is the courage and collaboration to put these tools and knowledge to work. That is what the Surgical Care Improvement Project is all about. That is why we are all here today.
There is much good news. When we improve the quality of care and prevent unnecessary errors, we do more than save lives and prevent the kind of suffering that Ilene and her family experienced. We also cut costs, and keep our precious health care resources from being wasted. About 1/3 of all health care spending today results from poor quality or unnecessary care. That means that we are wasting billions of health care dollars, while millions of hard-working Americans go uninsured. The SCIP project will not only save lives, it will also save dollars---making it possible for more Americans to get the health care they need and deserve.
The Surgical Care Improvement Project is promising and unique. It is one of the first national quality improvement initiatives to unite major stakeholders—physicians, nurses, hospitals, and patients—in reducing preventable surgical complications. The SCIP plan to collect data and evaluate whether health care providers are taking the steps to prevent complications is a major step forward. We know that what gets measured gets improved.
And we believe that patients have a right to know whether the health care providers they put their trust in, are doing the right thing. It takes courage and commitment to measure and report on performance. We applaud these efforts and are proud to be a part of this promising initiative.
Finally, we know that patients and their families are also key to improving the quality and safety of care. We, at the National Partnership, will work to help patients get more actively involved. We know that improvement must be a team effort. The SCIP tip sheet is a way to help patients talk with providers about the care they receive. We will distribute it widely, and encourage our allies to do the same. Our goal at the National Partnership for Women & Families is to spread this information to the public and to join with the dedicated health care professionals who are working to ensure that every surgical patient receives the right care every single time. When we do so, we will save thousands of lives."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.