State Health Department Convenes Second Annual Patient Safety Conference

Experts Focus on Strengthening Hospital Policies and Procedures to Ensure Patient Safety

ALBANY, March 15, 2005 — State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today announced that this year's patient safety conference: <Working Together — Partnering for Patient Safety

Dr. Novello said, "It is the responsibility of the entire health care community to protect the health and well-being of those patients who are entrusted in their care. Governor Pataki and I are committed to supporting programs and initiatives like New York's annual patient safety conferences to further improve access to high quality health care throughout the State."

"I also would like to thank the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), for their ongoing support and participation in this important quality initiative," Dr. Novello further stated.

In 2001, the New York State Department of Health was awarded a $5.4 million in conjunction with the University at Albany School of Public Health (SPH) for three Patient Safety Demonstration Projects. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) oversees the initiative. The funding was used to implement evidence based interventions around three common and preventable adverse events: deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolus (DVT/PE, blood clotting), Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) unrelated to a cardiac procedure and post-operation wound infection.

Keynote speakers James Bagian, M.D., P.E., Director of the VA National Center for Patient Safety and Rex Cowdry, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Consultant, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, United States Department of Health and Human Services will open this year's conference.

Dr. Bagian's keynote speech will focus on the culture of safety, define the issues related to patient safety and quality assurance, and identify ways to help prevent medical errors from occurring. "Patient Safety is the foundation upon which quality health care is built. This conference affords us an outstanding opportunity to share the knowledge we have gathered through years of practical experience," Dr. Bagian said.

Dr. Cowdry's address will focus on the U.S. government's strategic framework for improving health care through health information technology and the role of the public and private sector in developing standards for electronic health record-keeping. Dr. Cowdry said, "Done well, electronic medical records, decision support, and secure information exchange can make patient safety efforts far more comprehensive and effective.  Advances in technology will help us reach well beyond patient safety, empowering patients and transforming our health care system into a patient-centered, information-rich, provider friendly, and integrated system."

The overall goal of the conference is to enhance and promote patient safety for hospitals and other health care organizations by learning from national, state and local leaders regarding the change in culture, patient safety practices, evidence based interventions, health information technology and performance measures.

The Health Information Technology (HIT) Panel will highlight some of the groundbreaking strides being made in New York State towards incorporating state-of-the-art information technology with clinical practice to further protect patients.

The conference will include breakout sessions on four topics on the first day, including:

Those who are participating in this year's conference include hospital chief operating officers, medical directors, administrators, pharmacy representatives, nursing personnel, risk and quality managers, health plan executives and other interested parties.