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Oakbrook Terrace, IL: The Joint Commission; January 2010.
America's hospitals continued to improve the quality of care they provide for myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care, according to the newest report from The Joint Commission. Compared to the prior report published in 2007, hospitals increased their provision of evidence-based treatments across all four disease processes. In particular, significant improvements were achieved in use of measures to prevent surgical site infections. While the prior report provided data on adherence to the National Patient Safety Goals, these measures were not discussed in the current report.
Golden, CO: HealthGrades, Inc.; April 2009.
This analysis of patient safety in Medicare patients from 2005–2007 concludes that while modest improvements have been made, patient safety incidents still account for nearly 100,000 preventable deaths and nearly $7 billion in excess costs yearly. The report also recognizes the best performing hospitals with a "Patient Safety Excellence Award"—hospitals scoring in the top 15% according to a ranking methodology developed by the authors. As with prior HealthGrades reports, the study uses the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) to measure the incidence of patient safety problems and compare hospitals. The limitations of using PSIs as a performance measure have been discussed in a prior study and AHRQ WebM&M commentary, and it is important to note that this report did not undergo external peer review.
Levinson DR. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General; December 2008. Report No. OEI-06-07-00470.
The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 mandated that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) report to Congress the incidence of "never events" among Medicare beneficiaries, payment by Medicare for services in connection with such events, and the process used to identify events and deny payments. This report addresses that mandate by providing a descriptive analysis of the key issues to understanding hospital-based adverse events. The report is focused around discussion of seven critical issues that are explored in detail. Of note, OIG expanded the study of never events to the broader topic of adverse events in their analysis.
Shea KK, Shih A, Davis K. New York, NY: The Commonwealth Fund; July 2007.
This report discusses results of a national survey regarding how to improve the safety and quality of health care. Respondents supported greater adoption of health information technology, public reporting of performance on quality measures, and more oversight.
The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. New York, NY: The Commonwealth Fund; August 2006.
This report calls for providing "safe, well-coordinated, accessible, and efficient" care through five key steps: expanding health insurance coverage, implementing evidence-based patient safety and quality interventions, increasing use of health information technology, public reporting of safety and quality measures, and rewarding achievement in quality through "pay-for-performance." The authors ascribe the current quality problems in the U.S. health care system to system failures, including misaligned payment incentives, inadequate motivation to challenge the status quo, inadequate information systems, duplicative regulatory systems, and an overemphasis on autonomy.
Golden, CO: Health Grades, Inc.; April 2006.
This third annual report on the safety of hospitalized Medicare patients builds on past efforts to evaluate hospital performance. The report uses the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Patient Safety Indicators to provide benchmarks for such performance, identify current trends in safety issues, and estimate preventable events nationally. The report suggests that the patient safety incidents captured account for more than $9 billion in excess cost during 2002-2004, and more than 250,000 potentially preventable deaths occurred during the same time period. Grading for all states and a selected group of highly rated hospitals is included with the implication that, if all hospitals performed at a level comparable to the ones acknowledged, more than 44,000 Medicare deaths could be avoided with a costs savings of $2.45 million. As with the second annual report, several methodological limitations exist, and the reports themselves did not receive external peer review.