The CAREUniversity (CAREU) Team, led by HCC Corporation and Texas Medical Institute of Technology (HCC-TMIT), has partnered to develop and provide tools and resources to train family caregivers and medical professionals in pilot programs in designated 'SafetyNet Hospitals,' which serve low income communities in the United States, and to provide medical professional training in Gabon, Africa. The CAREU Team will work to educate caregivers and families through existing human channels such as faith based networks, mobile phones, and web systems to reduce health hazards. Education for families will be done through implementation of the 'CareMoms' program, a micro-entrepreneurial initiative that targets primary family caregivers (usually mothers) and offers incentives for educated family members to teach proper health behaviors to their families, as well as to train additional caregivers in low income US communities. These pilots are intended to provide an innovative learning platform that can be scaled up in similar low income communities around the globe.
The CAREU Team consists of dedicated partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), The Global Patient Safety Team, Sesame Workshop, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the Albert Schweitzer Hospital and the Schweitzer Foundation, the Conrad Foundation, Google, the Journal of Patient Safety, and several pharmaceutical companies. Each partner plays a critical role in the development of the CAREUniversity content, networks, and platforms.
HCC, the for-profit corporation, and TMIT, the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) medical research organization are co-founders of the Global Patient Safety Team and CAREUniversity, and will convene experts and leaders to serve the program, providing infrastructure, multimedia development services, and financial support.
The Global Patient Safety Team is comprised of leaders and representatives from the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Brigham & Woman's Hospital (BWH), and will create CAREU content. Sesame Workshop will collaborate on the development of CAREU modules for children, mothers, and teachers to address maternal/child health hazards in the first five years of motherhood/life. In collaboration with Sesame Workshop, the Conrad Foundation will launch 'CareKids,' a crowd-sourcing program that aims to bring child-generated innovations, solutions, and modules to CAREU.
Pharmaceutical companies, such as Sandoz Inc., who are familiar with counterfeit medication problems in Sub-Saharan Africa, will work with CAREU on training modules for caregivers and consumers in low income communities. IHI, which provides free training to healthcare students and doctors via its Open School, and has done extensive work in low income countries, will be a formal collaborator on the development of core content for CAREU.
Google's Global Food Service Program will collaborate on innovations in food safety through its 'Saving Babies' project, which will focus on preventing food-related risks and optimization of nutrition for children. Google will also focus on the development of information technology and creative solutions for under-resourced nations.
The WHO is continuously updating its patient safety curriculum and collaborates with HCC-TMIT on messaging through its Discovery documentaries. The WHO also has direct channels to emerging nations and will be working in Gabon with CAREUniversity initiatives. Video and training resources from current and past WHO-TMIT productions will be used in CAREU training programs. The Journal of Patient Safety will provide worldwide channels and publication opportunities for best practices that optimize healthcare in vulnerable populations, both in industrialized and emerging nations. Home care of family members will be a new topic of focus for the journal, with a focus on emerging nations and urban care deserts of industrialized countries.
Finally, the Albert Schweitzer Hospital will be the first African hospital to receive CAREU education, and the Schweitzer Foundation in Boston has agreed to collaborate to identify high hazard topics across Africa.
By 2016, HCC-TMIT plans to roll out CAREU in at least 150 of the 300 SafetyNet Hospitals in the US, with the conservative expectation that at least 15 of these hospitals will use the education to generate real impact. Within those 15 hospitals, HCC-TMIT aims to deliver continuous impact to 10% of the caregivers and patients through routine use of CAREU content. In Gabon, HCC-TMIT will pilot the CAREU in the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, and aims to scale the program to 14 hospitals in the country by 2016, with the goal of providing direct support and education to 10% of caregivers and patients in those hospitals.
July 2013-July 2014: Design Phase
Representatives from Gabon, Africa and US Safety Net Hospitals will form two patient safety teams and 'communities of practice' to define the most important healthcare problems in each country that can be helped with education.
A program will be planned to develop new behavior modules, specific for the two countries, by existing HCC-TMIT Network partners. Content from Sesame Workshop and new multimedia content will be planned that uses powerful, field-tested educational techniques that ensure sustainable new behavior adoption.
July 2014-July 2015: Build Phase
During the 'build phase,' solutions will be deployed to Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Gabon and at least one SafetyNet Hospital in a lower income area of the US. Modular multimedia elements will be tested through the mHealth phone networks and over the internet in Africa and the USA. A competency measurement certification system will be built in Geneva Switzerland. The CareMoms program will be rolled out in the US SafetyNet Hospitals, which will pay family members (usually the mother) to take courses and then teach others in low income US communities. An award program of mini-grants and prizes will be used to reward those who submit new modules to a global competition.
July 2015-July 2016: Operate Phase
During the 'Operate Phase,' the program will be refined in Gabon at Albert Schweitzer Hospital with formal programs for professional caregivers and healthcare leaders; and at US SafetyNet Hospitals, with added formal educational programs for family members. Hospitals across Gabon will be added to the program and approximately 25% of the Gabon hospitals are expected to join the program during this year for a total of 7 Gabon hospitals. Up to 49 additional SafetyNet Hospitals will be added into the program this year.
January 2016: Optimize Phase
As hospital enrollment procedures are optimized, another 25% of the Gabon hospitals are expected to join the program during this year for a total of 14 hospitals. Approximately 100 additional SafetyNet Hospitals will be added into the program this year for a total of 150 hospitals. During the Optimize Phase, the projects will be evaluated for measures of success through surveys of employees enrolled in the program and family caretakers in the US. Additionally, data will be collected to determine how many people completed the training, what additional training they need, and whether the training helped with patient safety in the home or in the hospital.
As many as one in four patients in low income communities experiences entirely preventable harm due to poorly coordinated medical care; counterfeit medications; and overuse, underuse, and misuse of testing and therapies. In many countries around the world, a huge proportion of care is administrated at home by family members, most often women, who are typically ill-equipped to provide proper care for their loved ones. The lack of safeguard systems - both in clinics and in the home - exposes families to risks related to their care, to the food they consume, and risks from lack of know-how to care for loved ones. These challenges threaten the physical and financial health of the most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and the sick. However, healthcare-related harm is often preventable, and basic public health risks can be minimized by encouraging clinical and familial caregivers to adopt new, safer behaviors in the provision of care.
'High Impact Target Care Hazards' are highly frequent and very severe errors in care which can be completely preventable when healthcare providers, both in the home and in the hospital, adopt simple, new behaviors. Examples of common hazards include medical errors, infections given to patients or improperly treated patients, excessive radiation of children, unsafe use of blood transfusions, basic care of pregnancy and newborns, poor compliance to care due to literacy issues, and exposure to food-related risks. By tackling just a few of these hazards, caregivers in both hospitals and homes stand to make a huge difference in reducing suffering and even death in patients across the age spectrum. While hospitals and clinics often have programs aimed at promoting behavioral changes that can prevent such hazards, there are few programs that target this issue within the home. Both clinical providers and family caregivers play a critical role in protecting patients, and these hazards will only be reduced if both are actively provided with proper training and tools.
The rising use of mobile phones in low income countries and underserved US communities provides a new platform for offering home family care decision-support and caregiver training. New smart applications for even the most rudimentary mobile phones can provide a bridge for patient education and better care-coordination that can protect families and caregivers from highly-preventable healthcare hazards. Through this new mobile connectivity, and through existing personal networks such as faith based organizations, caregivers and families can be actively engaged in promoting healthcare safety.