Aetna Provides Programs, Tools And Information To Help Improve Patient Safety

HARTFORD, Conn., March 07, 2008 — As one of the nation’s leading health care benefits companies, Aetna (NYSE: AET) has taken a multi-pronged approach to helping make health care safer for patients. As National Patient Safety Awareness Week concludes, Aetna’s efforts in this area will continue to support the major goals of this week, which according to the National Patient Safety Foundation, "emphasizes a collective effort for safer health care through partnerships among providers, patients, families and communities."

"For many years, Aetna has been a leader in supporting and driving initiatives to increase patient safety," said Troyen Brennan, M.D., Aetna’s chief medical officer. "We have worked with numerous federal agencies and national groups to provide patient safety tools and information to members, consumers and physicians, and it will continue to be one of our primary goals as a company in the future."

On a weekly basis, Aetna’s data -- such as medical or pharmacy claims -- are compared against thousands of evidence-based care guidelines that have been adopted within the medical community as the standard of care. The comparison attempts to identify gaps in care, medical errors, and deviations from evidence-based clinical guidelines. It also can alert a physician when a necessary and prescribed medication has not been filled.

Members can also use the information entered into the Personal Health Record to print a wallet-sized Emergency Information Card that contains important information such as name, date of birth, blood type, emergency contacts, current allergies and medications, and physician and insurance information.

The company recently included "never events" in its hospital contracts for negotiations or renegotiations that use a new contract. This approach calls for hospitals to report this type of event to a select group of patient safety organizations within 10 days of becoming aware it had occurred; take action to prevent future events; waive all costs related to a serious reportable event ("never event"); and apologize to the patient and/or family affected by the never event.

The company also makes available other materials aimed at enhancing the medical community’s skills for treating diverse populations including access to the Quality Interactions cross-cultural training.

Helpful Information
Another way Aetna helps improve patient safety is by providing easy-to-understand health-related information, assisting consumers and members in becoming more involved in their own health care.

One resource consumers can access is Aetna InteliHealth®, a free public website containing information provided by more than 150 top health care organizations, with Harvard Medical School and Columbia University College of Dental Medicine among the primary sources. In addition to useful information on various medical conditions, Aetna InteliHealth also includes:

"A more informed patient is a more involved patient, and encouraging our members to take a more active role in their health care is one of the most important things we can do in the area of patient safety," said Dr. Brennan. "An engaged patient usually has a better relationship with his or her physician, and that can lead to improved health outcomes."

About Aetna
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.7 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, and government-sponsored plans in the U.S. and internationally. Aetna’s international businesses include Aetna Global Benefits, Aetna’s expatriate benefits division that focuses on providing comprehensive solutions to employees working, traveling and living in over 100 countries.

Copyright Aetna Inc.