2007 to 2009

Over 40,000 incidents of medical harm occur in the United States every day, making medical errors the fifth leading cause of death nationwide, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). To help implement and strengthen systems and safeguards that prevent such problems as hospital-acquired infections, adverse drug events, surgical errors, pressure ulcers and other medical complications, IHI launched the national 5 Million Lives Campaign to prevent five million incidents of harm over two years. More than 3,000 hospitals nationwide voluntarily enlisted to participate in the campaign.

Building on the successful Colorado 100k Lives Campaign, The Colorado Trust supported the Colorado 5 Million Lives Campaign to help hospitals across the state further strengthen their quality improvement systems, ensuring safe patient care. Fifty-four acute care hospitals in Colorado were awarded grants over an 18-month period to participate in the campaign. Grants from The Trust also supported an additional five hospitals to participate in the campaign's educational programs and technical assistance trainings.

The Colorado 5 Million Lives Campaign helped hospitals adopt up to 12 interventions to improve care, including rapid response at the first sign of patient decline, making certain that patients receive the right medications at every care transfer point, adherence to best practices known to prevent heart attacks and ventilator-associated pneumonia, reduction of infections and drug-resistant staph, reduction of pressure ulcers and engaging hospital leadership in patient safety efforts.

To help implement the interventions, the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care—the state's health care quality improvement organization—developed educational events and provided other assistance to participating hospitals. As components of this technical assistance, the Colorado Rural Health Center worked with participating rural hospitals to address patient safety issues, and the Denver-based communications firm SE2 helped hospitals to develop communications that support the sustainability of interventions among staff and patients. Additionally, the Colorado Hospital Association worked with participating hospitals' CEOs and boards to provide related professional development and leadership training.

Given that the fastest growing demand for technology simulation learning is driven by health care quality improvement efforts, The Trust also awarded a grant to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment—which founded the Work, Education and Lifelong Learning Simulation (WELLS) Center—to support the development of simulation scenarios that help health care providers to build clinical knowledge and skills in any medical situation. The WELLS Center is the first training facility in the country to integrate the use of the Virtual Human Dissector and datacasting with human patient mannequins.

GRANT AMOUNT: $3.9 million