The American Medical Association has yet to sign on to the Institute for Healthcare Improvements
5 Million Lives Campaign and is apparently still reviewing the initiative that was launched last Dec. 12 and is scheduled to run until Dec. 9, 2008.
The 5 Million Lives Campaign seeks to prevent 5 million incidents of patient harmsuch as adverse drug events or surgical complicationsover a 2-year period. If the campaign is successful, the IHI calculates the number of incidents will be reduced by about one-third.
In response to questions seeking an explanation for the AMAs noninvolvement and an assessment of how its noninvolvement was affecting the campaign, both organizations responded with e-mails expressing mutual support for each other.
But at least one patient-safety activist said it was time for the AMA to either get onboard or explain its lack of participation. I think they should be fully behind it, and its a shame that they arent, said Helen Haskell, president of Mothers Against Medical Error, a Columbia, S.C.-based organization. If they have specific objections, they should say what they are.
Haskell became active in the patient-safety movement when her 15-year-old son died after minor surgery, and she is credited with helping to get a hospital-acquired infection-reporting law passed in South Carolina. Haskell said it was her understanding that the AMAs involvement was vital to the IHIs previous campaign to avoid 100,000 preventable hospital deaths, so it was troubling that it isnt involved in the latest effort, which is taking a broader approach.
There is much more to patient safety than saving lives and preventing errors, she said. There are many injuries that arent considered errors and thats what this campaign is about.
In an e-mailed statement attributed to AMA Board Chairman Cecil Wilson, the nations largest physician organization noted its involvement in the 100,000 Lives Campaign. During IHIs recent campaign, the AMA helped adapt proven interventions to help patients, and ensure Americas hospitals are havens of patient safety, the e-mail stated. The AMA also created and distributed thousands of physician implementation tools for the campaign to help physicians help their patients.
As the AMA reviews the current campaign interventions, we wish IHI success during the next phase of its campaign, the statement continued. The AMA will continue to look for ways to work with IHI and with physicians across the country to find even more ways to incorporate increased safety into every patient encounter.
More than 3,100 hospitals and 150 other organizations are already participating in the campaign (See table).
In an e-mailed statement attributed to IHI Vice President and 5 Million Lives Campaign manager Joe McCannon, the IHI alluded to other collaborations between the two organizations. The AMA has not yet chosen to formally endorse the 5 Million Lives Campaign, the statement said. In the meantime, the AMA has continued to join the campaigns partner advisory group (conference) calls, offering advice to the initiative to represent the interests of its constituents where appropriate.
We also continue to work together to improve care in specific campaign intervention areas, including medication reconciliation and engaging governance structures in improving quality and safety, the statement continued. The campaign is off to an excellent start, and the AMAs ongoing counsel and interest is an asset to it.
The IHI will be holding a campaign national action day marking the six-month milestone of the 5 Million Lives Campaign on June 20, which will offer practical strategies for getting results from the interventions outlined in the campaign.