Evidence-Based Medicine Saves More Than 100,000 Lives!

One of the nation's leading proponents for evidence-based medicine, Dr. Don Berwick, has announced that more than 100,000 lives have been saved in less than two years since the Institute for Healthcare Improvement launched a campaign that encourages hospitals to adopt best practices around just six interventions. 3103 hospitals joined the campaign, but only about one-third of those were diligent on all six interventions. The interventions involved best practices around such things as giving aspirin and beta blockers at the first sign of a heart attack, steps to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonias, and reducing medication errors during and after a hospital stay. None of this is rocket science. It's just strict compliance with rigorously doing what scientific evidence suggests we should do.

Imagine how many unnecessary deaths we could prevent if physicians always had the best evidence-based guidelines at their disposal. That is the promise of knowledge-driven healthcare; giving exactly the most appropriate and personalized care to a patient based on genetics, scientific evidence, and proven research. The complexity of modern medicine, the depth of the human genome, and the dizzying pace of medical research make it impossible for caregivers, even with the best of intensions, to stay on top of their game. That's why software and computers must increasingly become tools of our profession. That is why my colleagues and I at this company and others are working so hard to advance the use (and usefulness) of computers in the provision of care and prevention of disease. As suggested by Dr. Berwck's evidence, many more lives will be saved when the computer becomes as common in medical practice as the stethoscope.

Bill Crounse, MD Healthcare Industry Director   Microsoft Healthcare and Life Sciences