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Kiani Looks for Quantum Leap on Safety Movement

Masimo Corp. Chief Executive Joe Kiani wants his brainchild, the Irvine-based Patient Safety Movement Foundation, to reach 50,000 lives saved this year through eliminating medical errors in hospitals.

The movement counts on the participation of hospitals, medical device makers and other members of the healthcare industry to share data gleaned from the plethora of devices used in hospitals to help avoid the sort of small errors—conflicting medications or wrong dosages, for example—that are often behind the grim statistics on what are generally regarded as preventable patient deaths.

It’s estimated that 210,000 to 440,000 Americans die each year of preventable causes, such as infections, adverse drug reactions, patient falls and bed sores, in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

Data from the Patient Safety Movement indicate that its members have combined to prevent 24,643 deaths since it started its campaign in 2013. Its ranks include about 1,600 hospitals in the U.S. and about 30 other countries, Kiani said during an interview at Masimo’s Discovery Drive headquarters overlooking the Laguna (CA-133) Freeway shortly after another well-received safety movement summit.

“We have to get the number to 50,000,” he said. “We want to double—that’s all I care about.”

The ultimate goal is to eliminate preventable deaths in hospitals by 2020.

A key target of Kiani’s this year is to “get five key med-tech companies to join us by sharing their data.”

Almost 50 medical technology companies, including IBM Watson, a unit of Armonk, N.Y.-based International Business Machines Corp., have already signed data-sharing pledges with the Patient Safety Movement.

One of the companies that signed the pledge this year is Laguna Niguel-based PatientValet. Its Web-based psychiatric hospital bed registry is designed to get patients needing mental health treatment out of emergency rooms and into appropriate beds.

PatientValet signed the movement’s pledge to share data “because of our shared goal of zero preventable patient deaths by 2020 by increasing access to care,” said Leila Entezam, the company’s chief strategy officer.

“We believe that open access to our efforts and our data creates the opportunity for increased dialogue on this important subject,” said Entezam, who also presented during the event.

Kiani several years ago took up the challenge of convincing fellow medical device makers to share data in an effort to eliminate medical errors and patient deaths. The effort has taken on several different forms.

He noted that Ed Cantwell, who spoke at the recent Patient Safety Summit and serves as executive director of the Center for Medical Interoperability, a nonprofit organization with offices in Nashville and San Diego, started that organization with the goal of using its member hospitals’ “power of purchase to force interoperability.”

The Patient Safety Movement and its supporting foundation grew out of a summit Masimo and Kiani held three years ago under the auspices of the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Health Care at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

Former President Bill Clinton, who has been on board with Kiani and the movement since its early stages, returned this year to speak at the summit, which was at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa in Dana Point.

Clinton’s talk included a call to spread the movement deeper into the country.

“He basically said we’ve got to start regionalizing it—we’ve got to start visiting different regions in the U.S.,” Kiani said. “He also said we’ve got to look backwards to get to zero—what do we need, who hasn’t committed? We’ll meet them face-to-face and force them to say, ‘No.’”

Clinton is planning to assist the movement in its efforts to become more regionalized, according to Kiani.

“As you know, he has great power of persuasion,” he said, later adding that he believes with the efforts of Clinton and the Center for Medical Interoperability, it could get fence-sitting device makers to get on board.

Some device makers may be reluctant to share data because of patient privacy concerns and sector competition.

The movement is contemplating creating branch offices of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation at the request of “countries and [U.S.] localities” wanting to participate. That will require fundraising in order to hire more foundation staff, and Kiani said he’s on the lookout for professionals who can do so.

He did note, however, that Masimo’s team has “been incredible in the field” when it comes to spreading word about the movement, and would like the other medical device makers that have committed to participate in it to make similar efforts.

Kiani said the foundation will issue its annual “actionable patient safety solutions” after a June meeting in Washington, D.C. The solutions are methods hospitals can employ to prevent patient deaths.

Another item on Kiani’s plate: finding a new Patient Safety Movement Foundation president. Jim Bialick, its previous leader, is now leading Masimo’s government affairs office.

Kiani also said the movement is working with London-based accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP and would eventually like to have audited numbers for lives saved via its members’ efforts.

“I think the number needs to mean something, and people shouldn’t doubt it,” he said. “The number must be correct.”

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