The Best U.S. Hospitals Look Outside of Traditional Medical Techniques for Help in Stopping Flood of Errors

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Top tier hospitals decrease medical errors and mortality rates with aviation-based safety tools.

If I needed surgery, hospitals willing to implement these new safety tools are the only kinds of hospitals I would trust with my care.

On average, one patient per day is harmed in U.S. hospitals as a result of medication error, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM also estimates approximately 98,000 patients die per year due to these and other medical errors.

However, the top 5% of hospitals in the U.S. have a 28% lower death rate than other hospitals in the nation, according to a recent HealthGrades study. These statistics illuminate the disparity in quality of care provided by the nation’s hospitals.

Many hospitals that are gaining top-rated status and improving the quality of care they provide are implementing safety strategies from other industries such as commercial aviation. Vanderbilt University Medical Center used the adoption of aviation-based safety techniques as the key component driving their recent move into the top 5% of academic medical centers in terms of patient safety and quality of care.

Noting the results achieved by Vanderbilt, The University of California Health System recently started a project to implement aviation-based safety training in the Operating Rooms of five of their academic medical centers. LifeWings Partners LLC of Memphis, Tennessee is helping both organizations maintain their top tier status.

LifeWings, a team of pilots, physicians, former astronauts, and nurses has helped over 60 healthcare institutions implement many of the same safety techniques used by aircrews. “Our clients are certainly doing their part to make sure their patients receive the best, and safest, care possible,” says Stephen W. Harden, President and co-founder of LifeWings.

“One thing I can say for sure, based on the data we are seeing after they start using the techniques, their patients are receiving top-of-the-line care,” adds Harden. “If I needed surgery, hospitals willing to implement these new safety tools are the only kinds of hospitals I would trust with my care.”

About LifeWings Partners LLC

LifeWings Partners LLC was founded by a former U.S. Navy Top Gun instructor, a commercial airline pilot, and two physicians who are former NASA astronauts. The firm specializes in applying aviation-based teamwork training and safety tools to help healthcare facilities save patients’ lives and reduce costs. LifeWings has helped over 60 facilities nationwide provide better care to their patients.


Steve Harden, President

LifeWings Partners LLC


9198 Crestwyn Hills Drive

Memphis, TN 38125


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Steve Harden, President
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