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Perspectives on Safety > Perspective
with commentary by Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, The Transformation of Patient Safety at the VA, September 2006
Five years after the landmark Crossing the Quality Chasm report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the quality and safety of health care in the United States remains far from ideal.(1) It is easy to feel pessimistic. Can health care organizations really...
Perspectives on Safety > Interview
Surgical Errors, September 2007
Atul Gawande, MD, MA, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, is an accomplished surgeon and writer and is the recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship. He is an active clinician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Gawande has written two acclaimed and best-selling books: Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science and Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance. A staff writer for the New Yorker, he also recently completed a stint as a guest columnist for the New York Times. Dr. Gawande is leading the World Health Organization's Second Global Patient Safety Challenge: "Safe Surgery Saves Lives." We asked him to speak with us about professionalism, training, patient safety, and the writing process.
Journal Article > Study
Publicly available hospital comparison web sites: determination of useful, valid, and appropriate information for comparing surgical quality.
Leonardi MJ, McGory ML, Ko CY. Arch Surg. 2007;142:863-869.
The growing focus on health care quality has led to the development of several Web sites that make hospital quality information publicly available to consumers. This study evaluated six such Web sites (the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services' Hospital Compare, the Joint Commission's Quality Check, the Leapfrog Group, and three commercial sites) for ease of use, data accuracy, and consistency of hospital rankings for several surgical quality measures. In general, the governmental and non-profit Web sites were rated as easier to use and had more complete information. However, the authors found significant variation in the risk adjustment methods used and the types of outcomes reported on each Web site, leading to poor reproducibility of rankings for specific surgical procedures.
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.
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.