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How Are the Quaid Twins Doing?

WebMD's exclusive interview with Dennis and Kimberly Quaid

Q: What do they and their Quaid Foundation advocate as the solution to helping prevent medical errors? continued...

Only about 13% of the nation’s hospitals have a fully implemented bar code medication administration technology, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, but more are moving toward it.

“The nurses there told me they resisted it at first. But now, they say they wouldn’t want to give a medication to a patient without using the new system.” Besides the general resistance many people have to new technology, some nurses cite the extra time needed to scan medications but then see that the added effort pays off in reduced risk of error.

Patient safety advocates applaud the Quaids’ involvement. The actor brings “a face to the issue” and higher visibility to the problem, says Diane Pinakiewicz, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation, which advocates bar coding and other measures. “The more awareness we raise, the more engagement we’ll get from patients, regulators, and policymakers.”

At the end of the at-times emotional hour and a half interview, as T. Boone and Zoë wake from their nap, Dennis flashes that famous grin. He adds a dose of down-home perspective that reflects the couple's shared Texas roots.

“It made the media because I am in the movies, but a lot of people responded. Because of how fragile [the twins] were, a lot of people really got it,” Dennis says. “I think maybe people felt if it happened to a family like ours, it could happen to anyone.

“These kids are going to change the world,” he is fond of saying. And if his movie-star status is what it takes to make hospitals and health care safer, he’ll work it for all it’s worth.

“If celebrity is good for anything,’’ says Dennis, “this is what it’s good for, you know?”

(Adapted from WebMD the Magazine's September/October 2008 issue. Read the complete story here.)

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Reviewed on September 08, 2008

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