100K Lives: IHI Launches National Campaign to Save 100,000 Lives in U.S. Hospitals


January / February 2005

100K Lives

Patient Safety and Quality HealthcareIHI Launches National Campaign to Save 100,000 Lives in U.S. Hospitals

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) announced in December that it was launching the first-ever national campaign to save 100,000 lives in the next 18 months, and every year thereafter, in U.S. hospitals. The “100,000 Lives Campaign” aims to enlist thousands of hospitals across the country — at no charge — in a commitment to implement changes in care that have been proven to prevent avoidable deaths.

Dr. Donald Berwick, president and CEO of IHI, unveiled the campaign during his keynote address at IHI’s National Forum in Orlando, Florida. Joining Berwick on stage to endorse this campaign were leaders of The American Medical Association (AMA), The American Nurses Association (ANA), Ascension Health, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), North Carolina State Hospital Association, SSM Health Care, and The Veterans Health Administration.

Berwick also introduced the campaign’s slogan, “Some is not a number; soon is not a time,” to emphasize the importance of setting concrete goals in the effort to improve the quality and safety of healthcare.

Hospitals that choose to participate in the campaign commit to implement some or all of the following six quality improvement changes:


  • Deploy rapid-response teams — by allowing any staff member, regardless of position in the chain of command, to call upon a specialty team to examine a patient at the first sign of decline;
  • Deliver reliable evidence-based care for acute myocardial infarction — by consistently delivering key measures — including early administration of aspirin and beta-blockers — that prevent patient deaths from heart attack;
  • Prevent adverse drug events — by implementing medication reconciliation, which requires that a list of all of a patient’s medications (even for unrelated illnesses) be compiled and reconciled to ensure that the patient is given (or prescribed) the right medications at the correct dosages — at admission, discharge, and before transferring a patient to another care unit;
  • Prevent central-line infections — by consistently delivering five interdependent, scientifically grounded steps collectively called the “Central-Line Bundle”;
  • Prevent surgical-site infections — by reliably delivering the correct perioperative antibiotics, maintaining glucose levels, and avoiding shaving hair at the surgical site;
  • Prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia — by implementing five interdependent, scientifically grounded steps, such as elevating the head of the hospital bed by 30 degrees, thereby dramatically reducing mortality and length of stay in the intensive care unit.


“I invite every healthcare facility in the United States to join with IHI and our partner organizations in this campaign to make these proven, life-saving techniques standard practice,” said Berwick. “Together, we can literally save 100,000 lives by June 14, 2006!”

Hospitals can learn more about the campaign’s proven life-saving improvement techniques and join the 100,000 Lives Campaign at: www.ihi.org/ihi/programs/campaign. The site provides detailed information on each recommended change as well as useful tools and helpful resources. Additionally, www.ihi.org offers success stories from institutions that have achieved outstanding improvements in systems of care by utilizing these techniques.