A collaborative network of hospitals in Israel, the US, the Palestinian Authority and, apparently, in Jordan and Kuwait is being established to coordinate efforts to reduce medical errors. An inaugural event attended by representatives of nonprofit American hospitals and Israeli public and voluntary Arab hospitals was held at Hadassah University Medical Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Palestinian hospital officials and those from Arab countries did not attend, saying it would be difficult because of the Ramadan fast, but the organizers expect them to join the effort. The collaboration was organized by Prof. Zvi Stern, director-general of the Hadassah hospital on Mount Scopus, along with Dr. Rulon Stacey, president and CEO of the Poudre Valley Health System in Colorado and Dr. Shmuel Reznikovich, director of administration at Netanya Geriatric Medical Center. Stacey, who is here on his sixth visit, told The Jerusalem Post at the conference that the initiative was designed to improve patient care and safety and was the first of its kind to link American and Middle Eastern hospitals in an effort that studies best methods of medical practice with the goal of improving healthcare standards. The participants include six Israeli hospitals (Hadassah, Sheba, Wolfson, Meir, Tel Aviv Sourasky and the Netanya Geriatric Medical Center), the two-hospital Poudre Valley Health System, the 26-hospital Providence Health & Services system based in Seattle, and the VHA, a US-wide consortium of 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals - along, it is hoped, with Arab hospitals in Israel, Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority. The institutions will compare and analyze the way each provides services that could trigger illnesses that commonly occur in hospitals: ventilator-associated pneumonia, adverse reactions to medications, pressure ulcers and healthcare-associated infections. "There is important information that we can learn from each other," Stacey said. "Throughout the world, some hospitals typically perform better in certain areas of care than other hospitals. Our project will compare and contrast what each of us does. This will help us identify ways to improve." The participants were very impressed by the lecture of Dr. Amitai Ziv, deputy director-general of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and founder and director of MSR, Israel's medical simulation center, which trains and screens the skills of thousands of doctors, medical students, nurses, dentists, paramedics and others using actors and advanced simulators. Participants said there was nothing like MSR and its programs anywhere else in the world.