* Medical errors remain the 8th leading cause of death in the United States, costing an estimated $29 billion and resulting in as many as 98,000 patient deaths per year. [1]
* GE's PSO will be one of the nation's largest Patient Safety Organizations.
* GE's PSO helps healthcare providers improve patient safety by pinpointing the root causes of risk and creating a community working to mitigate those risks.
* GE's PSO combines the capabilities of MERS, a fourth generation common medical event reporting platform, SAS, a world leader in advanced analytics, and patient safety expertise from GE Healthcare Performance Solutions.

Barrington, IL - February 10, 2011 -- The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) has listed the GE-MERS National Patient Safety Organization (GE PSO) as part of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Patient Safety Organization (PSO) program. With this federal certification, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions joins leading healthcare organizations across the U.S. working to minimize risks in patient care. GE's PSO provides its members a single common medical event reporting platform, with comprehensive data analytics and advisory support to identify the root causes of risk, and help hospitals make lasting safety improvements. With 16 founding members, the GE PSO is one of the largest national PSO's with plans to expand and include additional hospitals across the U.S.

"Over a decade has passed since the Institute of Medicine made an influential call to decrease the number of costly medical errors that kill nearly 100,000 Americans each year; however, event-reporting limitations have often impeded progress toward this goal," said Jan De Witte, President and CEO, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions. "Our Performance Solutions business has the elements necessary - reporting, analytics and advisory - to help hospitals make measurable and lasting improvements in patient safety. Performance Solutions has a long term commitment to helping the healthcare industry reduce cost, improve quality and increase access and we will continue to invest in new technology capabilities and programs that improve overall performance."

"We are pleased that the GE PSO has earned this designation," said Director of Health, Rhode Island, David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. "As one of the founding members of the GE PSO, Rhode Island hospitals have shown tireless dedication to patient safety and quality improvement. This designation will allow our hospitals to collect information, while continuously reviewing and evaluating policies and standards, and as a result, improve patient care in the state."

Established by Congress in 2005, PSOs serve as independent, external entities that collect, analyze and aggregate information on patient safety events. With this designation, the GE PSO will provide confidential advice to health care providers seeking to understand and minimize the risks in delivering patient care.

Importantly, PSOs are evaluated by the quality of the data collected and the insights provided. GE's PSO distinguishes itself by the way it captures data and analyzes it. The data is captured through MERS, a fourth generation web based event reporting system that is used by all of the members. MERS enables members to not only capture more event reports and near misses, but to also capture more data in each report. The result is a powerful dataset that is aggregated and protected in the PSO.

GE's PSO has partnered with SAS Institute Inc. to create the infrastructure necessary to de-identify and analyze the data captured through MERS. SAS' world-renowned analytical tools and expertise in data integration will enable the GE PSO to identify and share insights with the membership.

GE's PSO will provide insights to hospital administrators, providers, and policymakers to assist them in identifying and isolating factors that contribute to medical errors. In particular, the PSO will focus on the complex root causes of risk. For example, what environmental factors should be monitored to reduce risk for a certain type of procedure? How have some members been successful at reducing rates of ventilator associated pneumonia? Why have others been less successful?

"Many state governments and insurance companies require hospitals to report patient safety incidents, but the programs aren't generally structured to offer follow-up trend information or process improvement support," said Kathy Martin, Managing Director, GE PSO, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions. "What sets GE's PSO apart is its ability to pinpoint the risks of patient harm. We've built the PSO to create new knowledge by first providing every member with a common event reporting system that captures data in the richest possible manner. Then, we've organized the database so that we can apply SAS tools and the expertise of our members to find those critical insights. The risks of harm are systemic, myriad, and complex. We believe this approach will enable us to understand them and help move our clients towards a patient safe culture."

Of the founding members, thirteen are in Rhode Island. Partnering through the Hospital Association of Rhode Island were the Lifespan Health System and its member hospitals: Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Newport Hospital and Bradley Hospital. Also joining the effort were CharterCARE Health Partners consisting of Roger Williams Medical Center and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital. Additional HARI members include Landmark Medical Center, The Westerly Hospital, South County Hospital, and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. Also joining from Rhode Island, the Care New England Hospitals which include Women and Infants, Butler, and Kent. Additional founding members include Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago, Illinois; Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago, Illinois; and Nix Health in San Antonio, Texas.

"Hospitals in Rhode Island have shown tireless dedication to patient safety and quality improvement," said Ed Quinlan, president, Hospital Association of Rhode Island. "Our involvement of a patient safety organization is another in a series of examples of hospitals committing to collaborate and share best practices to improve care. We look forward to working with the GE's PSO to use cutting-edge technology and process improvements to address this critical issue."

About GE Healthcare:

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.

Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at
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About The Hospital Association Of Rhode Island:

The Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI) is a statewide trade organization that assists member hospitals in serving the health care needs of Rhode Island, through advocacy, representation, education and services. HARI represents ten hospitals in the state of Rhode Island that deliver comprehensive, high quality healthcare services to the people of Rhode Island and southeastern New England.

About SAS:

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 50,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

About MERS:

MERS International, originally founded in the Netherlands with a New York-based U.S. subsidiary, is dedicated to improving patient care through innovative, information-based patient safety solutions. MERS International is the exclusive licensee of a robust and proven medical event reporting system (MERS), initially developed at Columbia University, that is now installed at over 40 healthcare facilities throughout the United States. Through the systemic collection, investigation, communication, reporting and monitoring of information about near miss and actual events, MERS empowers healthcare professionals and organizations to improve patient safety and quality of care.

Media Contact:

Britta Barrett
GE Healthcare
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Wendy Ryan
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