April 1, 2011
While Americans spend more on health care than any other country in the western world, our hospitals and clinics kill more patients. That situation can be remedied by changing the way hospitals and doctors function day to day. By introducing a five-step checklist that standardizes a common ICU procedure, Dr. Pronovost has decreased the rate of infection-and as a result, unnecessary deaths- across the country by 90 percent. Improving health care is a priority for all Americans, but it's a daunting subject. Nevertheless, simple steps can fix our hospitals and improve patient care.
Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD, FCCM is a practicing anesthesiologist and critical care physician and a professor in the departments of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine, Surgery and Health Policy and Management who is dedicated to finding ways to make hospitals and health care safer for patients. As the director of the Quality and Safety Research Group, he has developed a scientifically proven method for reducing the deadly infections associated with central line catheters. His simple but effective checklist protocol virtually eliminated these infections saving 1,500 lives and $100 million annually across the State of Michigan. These results have been sustained for over 3 years. Moreover, the checklist protocol is now being implemented across the United States, state by state, and several other countries. New Yorker Magazine says, Pronovost's "work has already saved more lives than that of any laboratory scientist in the past decade." Peter has chronicled his work helping improve patient safety in his new book, Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor's Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care from the Inside Out. In addition, he has also written more than 360 articles and chapters related to patient safety and the measurement and evaluation of safety efforts. He serves in an advisory capacity to the World Health Organizations' World Alliance for Patient Safety. The winner of several national awards, including the 2004 John Eisenberg Patient Safety Research Award and a coveted MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, known popularly as the “genius grant”. Peter was named by Time magazine as one of the world's 100 "most influential people" in the world for his work in patient safety. Peter regularly addresses Congress on the importance of patient safety, prompting a report by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform strongly endorsing Peter's ICU infection prevention program.