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Nearly one in every 13 Canadian patients experiences a preventable hospital-related adverse event. Safety research has been a high priority in industries such as aviation for many years, but applying the same thinking to health technology has only begun recently.
"We need a better understanding of how errors occur, and what steps can be taken to mitigate these errors," says Dr. Tony Easty, Senior Scientist at UHN.
Dr. Easty was recently honoured at an event announcing a $2.5 million investment by the Baxter Corporation—a leading manufacturer of critical therapies for people with life-threatening conditions—in UHN's Centre for Global eHealth Innovation. The funds will support the development of safer medical technologies by the Centre's Human Healthcare Factors Group.
Over the past 30 years, Dr. Easty has built a legacy of exemplary leadership in the field of clinical engineering and was instrumental in the creation of the Healthcare Human Factors Group.
"Baxter's investment will fuel our team's research into improving the safety of health technologies in clinical use," says Dr. Easty. "We are a research team with a strong focus on the clinical implementation and adoption of our findings, and so we work hard to disseminate our results to clinical decision-makers and system users, as well as to the research community. Baxter's funding will greatly enable this process."
The Human Healthcare Factors Group designs user-friendly and supportive medical environments, processes, tools, and technologies. As the world's largest hospital-based human-factors research centre, their goal is to make the health care system safer for everyone. It's a mission they share with Baxter.
"At Baxter, we strive to develop products that help save and sustain lives," say Barbara M. Leavitt, president, Baxter Corporation. "We are committed to pioneering innovation in health care for Canadians and are working to bring the next generation of safer health technologies to life through our investments in critical and innovative research. We are excited by the work currently underway by researchers at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation to develop technologies that will help provide a safer health care environment for patients and clinicians."
The funding will, over 10 years, establish the Baxter Chair in Health Technology. Dr. Easty will be the inaugural chair holder and will continue to focus on the safety assessment of a range of health technologies and the improvement of medication safety across a broad continuum.