• Commentary
  • Published April 2016

Toward a safer health care system: the critical need to improve measurement.

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In this call for better measurement and reporting, two patient safety experts lay out steps that federal policymakers can take to advance patient safety. The commentary emphasizes the need for valid patient safety measures and mentions the Surgeon Scorecard as an example of journalists and private companies stepping in to provide needed transparency. The authors suggest that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) focus on measures of the most common causes of iatrogenic harm to hospitalized patients, including adverse drug events, hospital-acquired conditions, and surgical complications. They recommend that CMS remove current metrics that rely on administrative data due to concerns about validity and accuracy of these measures. The commentary advocates for tasking an official agency with defining measurement standards and benchmarks. The authors also propose that Congress fund research on systems engineering. A recent PSNet interview discussed AHRQ's efforts to develop patient safety measures and improvement programs.

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