It’s clear that many of our health care delivery systems are broken.
In U.S. hospitals, for instance, there are more than one million serious medication errors every year, often with tragic consequences. They also result in tremendous financial costs. One adverse drug event adds more than $2,000 on average to the costs of hospitalization.
We also know that, roughly half the time, patients do not receive the basic treatments that evidence shows to produce the best health outcomes. As a result, they suffer preventable mortality, morbidity and costs of care. Hospital-acquired infections alone afflict 2 million patients a year, and 90,000 of them die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates. However, we know that many of these cases could be prevented if clinicians followed simple steps known to stop transmission.
Medication errors, infections and other complications are usually not the result of recklessness by individual caregivers. Rather, like many problems in patient safety and quality, they are the result of flawed systems for delivering care. These problems persist because the health care field does not have a strong system for translating best evidence into everyday practice.
Unfortunately, there is little public investment in improving these systems so that they run better. For every dollar that the U.S. Congress has allocated to develop breakthrough science and treatments, it allocates one penny to ensure that Americans actually receive those treatments safely and consistently. Moreover, most clinicians have not been trained in the science of care delivery, and they don’t have the tools to fix the faulty systems that lead to errors.
The Center for Innovation was created to help fill this gap. We believe that knowing how to deliver the known best treatment to the right patient is just as important a life-saving measure as coming up with a new drug or device.