Seeking to highlight solutions to some of the more intractable and complex challenges in modern health care, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Foundation is hosting a two-day meeting in Chicago next month that will bring together doctors, nurses, patient safety advocates, and health care technology experts who will share their experiences and insights.

During the Sept. 27-28 regional meeting, 18 leading healthcare delivery organizations involved in three of the AAMI Foundation’s patient safety initiatives?the National Coalition for Infusion Therapy Safety, National Coalition to Promote Continuous Monitoring of Patients on Opioids, and National Coalition for Alarm Management Safety?will demonstrate how they are making changes in these areas and saving lives.

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to research published in the journal BMJmany of which can be linked to technology-related issues, such as IV medication errors and alarm fatigue. For example, the FDA recorded approximately 56,000 adverse events associated with infusion pumps between 2005 and 2009, including numerous injuries and deaths. And the copious number of alarms produced by physiologic monitors and ventilators are consistently ranked as a top patient safety concern.

Additionally, opioids are known to cause respiratory depression and are involved in almost half of all deaths attributed to medication errors. In hospitals, failing to recognize and reverse opioid-induced respiratory depression following surgery can lead to cardiac arrest.

At the AAMI Foundation’s event, both small community hospitals and large hospital systems will share innovative solutions they’ve implemented to help save patients from “failure to rescue events,” decrease the number of nonactionable clinical alarms, and address key challenges to improving infusion therapy safety. This is valuable information for physicians, nurses, nurse managers, directors of patient safety, directors of quality improvement, risk managers, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and health care technology management professionals.

“All of the members of the health care team can benefit from hearing the lessons learned by the hospitals that are leading the way in alarm management, infusion therapy safety, and continuous monitoring of patients on opioids,” says Marilyn Neder Flack, senior vice president of patient safety initiatives and executive director of the AAMI Foundation. “Since the AAMI Foundation launched its first national coalitions in 2014, we’ve found that providing clinicians and their healthcare technology industry partners with the opportunity to meet face to face encourages knowledge sharing and communication in a way that online seminars can’t.”

Day one of the event will focus on continuous monitoring of patients receiving opioids and alarm management. Highlights include a keynote speech by Frank J. Overdyk, MSEE, MD, an anesthesiologist for the Roper St. Francis Health System in Charleston, SC, on the impact of continuous electronic vital sign monitoring, a discussion about opioid-sparing surgery from Philip Corvo, MD, chairman of surgery at St. Mary’s Health System in Waterbury, Conn, and a case study about the journey to continuously monitor patients on opioids presented by Perry An, MD, from Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass, as well as case studies by clinicians from Evergreen Health in Seattle; The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore; Newton-Wellsley Hospital in Newton, Mass; Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, Conn; University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore; Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia; Winchester Hospital in Winchester, Mass; and NCH Healthcare System in Naples, Fla.

During day two, participants will delve into how to improve infusion therapy safety with presentations by clinicians from Hallmark Health, Medford, Mass; Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Md; Allina Health in Minneapolis; and Pa-based Lancaster General Health in Lancaster; among others.

“Our first regional event in Boston last fall was a great success, and we have seen real, lasting change happen as a result of the AAMI Foundation’s patient safety initiatives,” Flack says. “There is still work to be done, but we are looking forward to what the future holds, having been inspired by the innovative ideas shared during this meeting.”

The meeting is open to physicians, nurses, healthc are technology experts, academics, and regulators, all of whom can register online. The cost is $50 to attend one day or $75 to attend both. Industry representatives who wish to attend must contact Flack at [email protected] for more information.