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How safe is healthcare?

On Wednesday, Jaap Suermondt of HP Labs delivered the opening keynote at the Future of Health Innovation conference at Stanford.  The event, organized by SDForum and Innovation Center Denmark, brought together innovators from California and Denmark – and the worlds of academia, business, government and foundations – to share best practices in innovating to improve healthcare. 

(Why Denmark, you might ask? The small country boasts impressive healthcare technology adoption, including one of the world’s most integrated patient data systems. Denmark has high patient and physician satisfaction rates and relatively low costs. In the U.S., over 17% of the GDP is spent on healthcare. In Denmark, it’s 10%.)

An few notable speakers included the head of medical planning at Stanford University Medical Center, the Chief Innovation & Technology Officer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, representatives from Kaiser and Sutter Health, a designer from IDEO, and the Danish Minister of Interior and Health.

Echoing his recent remarks at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Jaap spoke about the state of safety and efficiency in healthcare. The facts about safety are pretty shocking:

- On average, 44,000 patients die every year in the U.S. from medical errors. That’s more than die from auto accidents.

- Patients have a one in ten chance of experiencing a medical error while in a hospital.

As anyone who has spent time in a waiting room recently knows first-hand, efficiency could stand some major improvements; the average doctor’s visit lasts eight minutes but takes an hour and a half all told.

Jaap spoke about how harnessing information with IT can help save lives and improve efficiency. You can hear some highlights in the video below:


Badal Sanghvi(anon) | ‎11-16-2010 06:35 PM


Since 2004, HP Enterprise Services has been doing some innovative work in the area of reducing medical errors.  Today, HP-ES run Pennsylvania state-wide reporting system.  All PA hospitals, ambulatory surgery facilities, birthing centers, and nursing homes report Serious Events (events that harm the patient) and Incidents or near-misses (event that do not harm the patient) in to system.  The data is analyzed by a team of clinical experts.  To date, over 1.2 million reports have been submitted to the Authority. 

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