“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”   –Yogi Berra

Although he has a funny way of saying it, Yogi Berra, the baseball legend and dugout philosopher, knows the importance of goals.

So does Douglas Leonard. And he has set a noble one. As president of the Indiana Hospital Association, he wants Indiana to become the safest state in America for hospital care. That means that Indiana Hospitals are shooting to be number one nationally in patient safety.

Why so high?

I think good is the enemy of great,” he explains.  “If we stop at being good, we’ll never get to great.”

The impetus came years ago when Leonard was a hospital CEO. He was “sobered” by the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report “To Err is Human.” It made him realize that “one death is too many.”

That kind of attitude deserves recognition. While there is only room for one at the top of the list, striving to be number one in patient safety should be the brass ring for everyone in healthcare.

In Indiana, the effort of hospitals to pull together to root out errors and improve safety is paying off. For example, the number of patients who died from septic causes was 16 percent in 2009. Through the organized efforts of the regional patient safety coalition, that rate has dropped to nine percent. Not perfection, but a big stride forward.

That coalition is part of the nation’s largest Hospital Engagement Network (HEN), which is run by the Health Research and Education Trust. It was formed as the result of the 2011 federal government’s Partnership for Patients initiative, which issued $218 million in grants to create 26 HENs with the goals of reducing patient harm by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent over two years.

We think being the safest state in the country is really critical for making the kinds of changes that we want to for the patients,” says Leonard.

TeleTracking applauds that aspiration, and as a company we’ve been trying to do our part to help in the fight to achieving patient safety from infection.

  • We are providing some of the tools needed in this multi-pronged effort to halt the spread of infection.  For example, we have automated the infection alert process to help hospital personnel avoid being inadvertently exposed to Hospital Acquired Infection (HAIs).
  • And, our Real Time Location System (RTLS) not only keeps tab on the location of all mobile medical devices, but can show if they have been sterilized by properly trained staff.

We feel these are important contributions because they cover often overlooked ways for infection to defeat hand hygiene protocol.

But it also takes the “attitude” of people like Douglas Leonard to make that happen.  We say “hats off” to him and members of the Hoosier state’s regional coalition for their good work in improving patient safety in their hospitals.


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