IBM Joins Leapfrog Group to Promote Safe Healthcare

Purchaser Coalition Supports Use of Information Technology to Save Lives

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Armonk, NY - 15 Nov 2000: -- IBM today announced that it has joined The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of companies working together to encourage the health care system to reduce preventable medical errors sponsored by The Business Roundtable (BRT).

The BRT's new program is called "The Leapfrog Group," a growing consortium of Fortune 500 companies and other large private and public health care purchasers. The Leapfrog Group's approximately 60 members provide health benefits to more than 20 million Americans; Leapfrog members and their employees spend more than $40 billion on health care annually. Under Leapfrog, employers have agreed to base their purchase of health care on principles encouraging more stringent patient safety measures. These measures include (1) computerized physician order entry, (2) evidence-based hospital referral and (3) intensive care unit (ICU) staffing by physicians trained in critical care medicine.
"IBM is committed to ensuring its employees have access to medical plans and providers who use appropriate safeguards against avoidable medical errors, " said Barbara Brickmeier, director, Global Benefits at IBM. "Our association with Leapfrog is one part of IBM's ongoing, comprehensive quality review of the plans available to our employees."
According to the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) November, 1999 report "To Err is Human," medical error is a major cause of adverse drug reactions. These incidents can cause pain, suffering and even death. In addition, they can result in more lengthy hospital stays that increase costs for both patients and providers.
"We are proud to join The Leapfrog Group in this important work," said Russell J. Ricci, M.D., General Manager, IBM Global Healthcare. IBM Global Healthcare, along with its business partners, offers e-business solutions to the healthcare industry worldwide. Dr. Ricci added, "e-business technology available today, is being used to address preventable medication errors quickly and cost effectively by relatively few institutions. What's missing is the awareness and a means of paying for the solution."
IBM supports legislation that reimburses hospitals for installing lifesaving medication order entry systems.
As a global corporation with employees in more than 160 countries around the world, IBM works with a variety of healthcare models from government payor organizations in Europe, Asia and Latin America to health maintenance organizations in the U.S. While country and healthcare system models vary, the problem of avoidable medical errors is global.

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