Project image
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$54,155
pledged of $125,000pledged of $125,000 goal
120
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, March 11 2016 1:00 AM UTC +00:00
$54,155
pledged of $125,000pledged of $125,000 goal
120
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, March 11 2016 1:00 AM UTC +00:00

About

Foreword...Why Are We Doing This?

This topic in particular holds a very personal connection me. My father, Dr. John M. Eisenberg, who passed away in 2002, was a pioneer in patient safety. His work led national discussions on improving the quality of health care in America. When he passed, I was still in high school and didn't fully understand the importance or scope of his work. I knew he was occasionally on TV and he worked with the highest levels of Washington, DC decision makers, but I was just a kid. In the 14 years since his death, I've learned so much about his work and I believe strongly that it deserves to be back in the national discussion. What better way to contribute to this than through my own abilities as a documentary filmmaker?

I see this documentary as an extension of his work; an opportunity to follow in his footsteps and continue his mission of saving lives through research and a focus on people. Most importantly, this documentary should speak to people in a way that literature has not yet accomplished. It should empower every doctor, nurse and patient to take control of their medical experience and create a safer environment for every individual. We've chosen the March 10th end date for the campaign in honor of the 14th anniversary of his passing.

Read more about the relationship between this film and my father in this article from MedPage Today.

                                                        - Mike Eisenberg, Director

                 ---------------------------------------------------------------

The Silent Epidemic:

“To err is human, but to persist in error is diabolical” - Latin proverb

If you do a general search for the “leading causes of death in America,” many lists inexplicably leave out the #3 killer – Healthcare-Associated Infections (commonly referred to as Medical Errors). According to the latest study in 2013, the health care system itself may be causing as many as 440,000 preventable deaths every year in the United States. The CDC estimated 1.7 million people developed healthcare-acquired infections in 2002 and that number is likely higher today. In 2011, a study estimated over 40,000 harmful or fatal errors occur every day and the CDC estimates about 1 in 25 hospital patients will get a healthcare-associated infection.

The very place we all go to heal has countless opportunities to make you even more ill. In 2000, a “war on medical errors” was declared, and while improvements have been made, the challenge is far greater than the resources available to fix it. So why do we not know more about this epidemic? Who stands to profit from hiding it? Are hospitals really this unsafe? To Err Is Human (title pending) will explore this and more, as we seek to understand and present solutions for the broken healthcare system in America. People shouldn’t have to learn about health care quality and patient safety after they experience a medical error. Through the powerful medium of documentary storytelling, we believe To Err Is Human (title pending) will save lives by informing and empowering everybody who touches healthcare in America.

How Will We Tell The Story?

In addition to the hard statistics, the film will share stories of patients (told directly by them) who have been directly impacted by a medical error and the families of those who have died in the hands of medicine. What happened? How has it changed their lives? What can we do to protect ourselves at the hospital? We must put faces to the crisis, not just provide the data. These stories are vital to the film and will be featured prominently throughout. We will focus on the consequences through the physical, emotional and financial pain associated with preventable medical harm.

An important goal of the film is to find solutions and speak on behalf of all patients. Some are already hidden inside the complex system in place, while others have gone unnoticed. The documentary will focus on the role of hand-washing, HVAC systems and other elements in place at hospitals that directly impact the safety of patient care. We will explore how other industries, such as military and aviation, have taken drastic measures to protect the lives they impact on a daily basis? The film will also look at revolutionary new technologies being developed to simplify the medical process, from prescriptions to surgical procedures. Medicine is not the only industry with lives at stake, but it is far behind the others in minimizing the devastating impact and frequency of error.

The film is not an attack on doctors and nurses. In fact, most doctors and nurses are inherently good. They are doing the best they can to protect and heal patients with what is obviously a broken and over-complicated system. We will shed light on the problems and present solutions for the providers, as well as valuable insight for the patients so that every level of medicine can improve to be safer and more effective.

There are more topics and approaches we plan to take in making this film that will have to be presented in the final cut, but rest assured that we have a great game plan to tell a well-rounded and important story.

Who Will We Interview?

To Err Is Human (title pending) will feature interviews with the leading minds in health care today. You'll see some in the video at the top of our page, but we have many more lined up, including the top experts on patient safety, major organizations leading the patient safety movement, educators teaching the next generation of doctors and nurses, and tech companies bringing the medical care to the 21st century by simplifying the experience. We will explore the history of patient safety in America, while understanding just how dangerous this problem has become. We will also interview doctors and nurses at the nation's leading hospital(s) to understand how they have improved care for their patients. And while medical errors will be a large part of the documentary’s focus, the film seeks to understand the root of the problem, from overworked doctors and nurses to underfunded agencies dedicated to researching quality in healthcare.

We will explore a recent attempt by the House and Senate to de-fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the only agency focused on using research to improve health care quality in America - an agency that only gets 0.012% of all health care spending ($440 million for 2015) in the first place to fix problems that the Institute of Medicine estimated cost the country over $750 billion in 2009. Yet, with such a small investment in quality research, approximately 87,000 fewer patients died and $19.8 billion were saved in health care costs from 2010-2014 as a result of efforts by AHRQ to make care safer. That means AHRQ saved the system 10 times as much money as it got from 2010-2014. How do we improve the quality of healthcare, especially when it comes to medical errors, without an agency like AHRQ? What kind of healthcare system would Americans get? Equally important, what is the case against AHRQ?

Interviews with leading professionals in the healthcare field, current and past leaders of government agencies, as well as former and current patients and doctors who have experienced the good and the bad of patient safety and healthcare quality. These stories of real-world experiences with medical errors will be the emotional key to engaging our audience.

We will also do more Man-On-Street interviews to talk to "real Americans" about the unknown epidemic and their own experiences with and expectations of health care.

Some of the people we interviewed on the sidewalks of Washington, DC.
Some of the people we interviewed on the sidewalks of Washington, DC.

Through interviews and documentary footage, To Err Is Human (title pending) will take form as we learn more about the silent epidemic that has grown exponentially since the 1999 report suggested as many as 98,000 people were dying at the hands of healthcare, 1/3 of all hospital admissions resulted in medical error and this was all costing hospitals $17-29 billion each year. What is causing this problem to grow so drastically, where is the accountability and what are the solutions?

When Will It Be Finished?

We are tremendously inspired to make a powerful documentary. However long it takes to make that film, we will take it. But if we are successful in this campaign, we are confident that the film can be completed by March 2017. This is not a guarantee by any means, but it is our goal. The sooner To Err Is Human (title pending) is completed and shown to the people, the sooner change can begin and lives can be saved.

The support for our documentary has been overwhelming and we are hoping to turn that support into funding through this campaign. In the end, the project will require more funds, but $125,000 is not a ceiling. The more we can raise through this Kickstarter, the stronger the film will be and the more time and resources we can dedicate to the film this year.

Why We Need Funding?

Development, Producing, Filming & Editing (40% of funding goal): Without these, there is no documentary.

Interviews/Travel (20%): We'll need to travel across the country to film important interviews and documentary footage. We set up a handful of interviews in Washington, DC and flew ourselves out there for an initial round of interviews in late 2015, but we are far from done. We have crucial interviews waiting for us in Boston, New York, California and Washington, DC. More importantly, not all patient stories will be within arm's reach.

Animations/Re-creations (10%): The amount of data on patient safety is astounding, and it is important that we share those numbers with you in a way that is easy to understand and presents the proper scope of things. Animations are a common tool used in documentaries to show statistics that support the story. We also plan to film small re-creations of patient stories to help the audience visualize their experiences.

Advertising and Distribution (10%): While in production, we will maintain a social media presence through posters, trailers, clips and more. Once the film is complete, we need to present it for maximum impact. This includes creating DVD/Blu-rays, submitting to film festivals, and promoting the film. The only way a documentary can make an impact is if people see it, and people don't see films they don't know exist.

Kickstarter Fees (8%): Part of our funding will go to Kickstarter fees.

Original Music (2-4%): Every documentary needs powerful music that reaches us on a level that interviews and footage cannot. We believe strongly in the power of music and want to hire one of our long-time collaborators to create music for the film.

Legal (5%): The documentary needs to follow strict legal protocols to protect it before distribution.

Voiceover (3%): As the project develops, so will our script. Once the film is nearing completion, we will need to hire a strong, if not high-profile voice to tell parts of the story that interviews cannot.

Website Development (2%): Any film worth its salt has an effective and accessible website where interested viewers can learn more about the topic and begin the process of becoming an empowered patient. We will provide additional resources for people to engage with and continue their journey to a safer health care experience.

Our Creative Influences:

There is certainly a decent collection of documentaries about healthcare, from Sicko to Escape Fire. But our issue with today's options in documentary is that none focus on a central issue that can be clearly fixed. They alienate the viewer and create a culture of fear about medicine. It is our goal to inform the viewer and empower them to experience healthcare more responsibly and safely.

Errol Morris' documentaries have long been a major influence for us and we seek them as a guiding light to making something very hard to understand actually very accessible.

Morgan Spurlock's documentaries are extremely effective because they speak to real human beings. Similar to Spurlock, we will approach our film as the audience's proxy. One way he does this is through animations to make complicated statistics and sprawling topics visually appealing/entertaining and equally informative.

Another influence is HBO's The Jinx. The way that anecdotes were shown through creative and artistic re-creations using close-ups and dramatic lighting is one way we hope to achieve the patient stories in a more engaging and impactful way.

The Production Team:

The production team (L-R: Mike Eisenberg, Kailey Eisenberg, Matt Downe)
The production team (L-R: Mike Eisenberg, Kailey Eisenberg, Matt Downe)

3759 Films is a new LLC created by Tall Tale Productions for its feature documentary work. It is comprised of three filmmakers with documentary, film and commercial experience. We create documentaries that explore topics and stories in a new light, from an angle that is both entertaining and informative. This topic in particular holds a personal connection to the director and co-editor, Mike Eisenberg, son of patient safety pioneer, the late Dr. John M. Eisenberg. Dr. Eisenberg’s work in this field during the 1990s-2000s led to a national discussion about medical mistakes and the driving force behind AHRQ’s improvements in research to improve patient safety. We seek to create a documentary that continues his efforts to create a bipartisan perspective on a serious issue that impacts every American. Through the legacy of Dr. John Eisenberg, the production team has access to many of the leading minds in healthcare today, and will pursue those leads to create a well-rounded story.

Our latest documentary (as Tall Tale Productions) was Whoop Dreams - a very different type of film to this one.

Mike Eisenberg is the film’s director and co-editor. He worked at an advertising agency prior to founding Tall Tale Productions and has directed multiple films, including the award-winning short Stitches and the documentary Whoop Dreams.

Kailey Eisenberg is the film’s producer. She worked in TV and Film prior to founding the Chicago-based production company, Tall Tale Productions. She has produced award-winning films in both fiction and documentary.

Matt Downe is the film’s cinematographer and co-editor. He held similar roles in the documentary Whoop Dreams and has produced films featured in multiple film festivals. Prior to founding Tall Tale Productions, he worked at an advertising agency.

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A reminder about Kickstarter: You are not charged unless we reach our goal of $125,000. Please help us share this campaign by posting the link to social media and sending emails to people you think might be interested. If you have any questions about the campaign or the film, don't hesitate to e-mail me at mike@talltaleproductions.com or contact the film on Twitter (@ToErrIsHumanDoc).

Risks and challenges

The most important thing we can do as documentary filmmakers is tell a story as completely and efficiently as possible. While we want the film to be entertaining and engaging, it ultimately needs to inspire action for the viewer. This presents the most significant challenge: knowing when we're done. We believe we can complete the film by Spring 2017, but if the film isn't ready yet, we will let you know and keep you updated on our progress.

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Funding period

- (29 days)