The Importance of Continuous Monitoring

March 7, 2018

Failure to rescue is a sensitive topic within the healthcare industry, and a difficult subject to broach. Nonetheless, since the turn of the last century, the movement to address the important issues underlying hospital error has made tremendous strides — due in no small part to the tireless work of Dr. Michael DeVita and Helen Haskell.

Over the past two decades, these two advocates of patient safety have worked to not only broaden the conversation about the need to address hospital error via methods like patient education, infection control, and continuous monitoring, but also to implement widespread implementation of these solutions. 

In this, the first podcast in a new series from EarlySense, Dr. Michael DeVita, Chief Medical Officer of EarlySense, is joined by Ms. Helen Haskell, founder of Mothers Against Medical Error (MAME) — for a one-on-one conversation about the the importance of continuous monitoring and the progress of reform in regards to failure to rescue. In their wide-ranging discussion, Dr. DeVita and Ms. Haskell talk about what brought them into their current roles as movement leaders, how far they think the movement has progressed, the growing role of continuous monitoring and rapid response in furthering their goals, what challenges need to be overcome in the future, and the growing role of continuous monitoring within the organization of medicine. 

 

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About Dr. Michael DeVita 

With more than 30 years of clinical experience, Dr. Michael DeVita is an accomplished, widely published physician. He’s worked as Medical Director of Critical Care Medicine for New York City’s Harlem Hospital, where he was responsible for the hospital's medical crisis response system — a role that’s closely tied to his work innovating rapid response systems. Along with fellow pioneers Ken Hillman and Rinaldo Bellomo, he is also editor of the groundbreaking “Textbook of Rapid Response Systems.”

In this introductory podcast, Dr. DeVita talks about his own path to hospital error reform advocacy, relating how he had once been “focused more on … the process of responding to death” than on actually preventing cardiac arrests from occurring. “And it was a very hard thing for me to come to grips with,” he adds, “because everything I had been doing up to that point was, in my mind, very much misdirected.”

About Helen Haskell  

After the tragic loss of her teenage son to a hospital error in 2000, Helen Haskell has worked continuously to improve patient safety, particularly in the areas of infection prevention, rapid response, and patient monitoring. Not only has she founded (and continues to lead) MAME, but she also created and championed the passage of the Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Act, a groundbreaking South Carolina law that required the provision of patient emergency response systems in hospitals.

“What my son died of was a perforated gastric ulcer, and they had come to the conclusion that he was simply constipated and no amount of evidence sort of penetrated that assumption,” Helen tells Dr. DeVita about her experience. It was terrifying … We couldn't get through to people, we didn't have anyone to call, we just didn't know what to do. We felt really alone and isolated. Correctly so, all our fears came true — worse than our worst fears.” 

As far as the progress and future of the movement, “there are things that are better, and there are things that are worse,” Helen tells Dr. DeVita.

“I feel that we've made a lot of progress in patient safety and particularly in things like rapid response,” she says. “But at the same time, the organization of medicine has changed … it's always a race to keep up.”