I am writing in response to the Jan. 14 op-ed by Lisa Freeman, “CT hospitals must do more to prevent errors and patient harm.

Providing safe, high-quality care to patients is the mission of every Connecticut hospital and the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA).  It is the number one priority of nurses, doctors, CEOs, and members of hospital boards.

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We agree we have more work to do on preventing adverse events and reducing infections, and we are making progress.

CDC data released today show that Connecticut has been successful in significantly decreasing central line-associated bloodstream infections and lowering its MRSA rate, both of which are substantially below the national rate.  Hospitals still have work to do on preventing catheter-associated UTIs, surgical site infections, and C. difficile infections.

This work requires focus, persistence, and commitment, and is consistent with our work to improve patient safety – specifically high reliability.  High reliability is more than hope – it is a nationally recognized science, adopted by high-risk industries such as nuclear power and naval aviation, to reduce errors and successfully improve safety.  It involves learning safety behaviors and utilizing tools designed to eliminate the risk of harm completely, because even one preventable error or infection is too many.  High reliability is becoming a model for the nation.

A key principle of achieving high reliability is to increase transparency and reporting.  This commonly results in higher rates of safety events being reported, and this is true not only in healthcare but in all industries that embrace high reliability.

The hospital community in Connecticut understands that more improvement is necessary, and is moving forward to implement positive change.  We welcome input from Lisa Freeman and the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, and value any collaboration that seeks the common goal of improved patient safety.

Jennifer Jackson is chief executive officer of the Connecticut Hospital Association.

The Connecticut Hospital Association is a Connecticut Mirror sponsor.

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