6. Quality scorecards
Look for more flare-ups and controversy when the Leapfrog Group, Consumer Reports, U.S. News & World Report, and HealthGrades again issue report cards and rankings of various aspects of hospital and physician care.
Many hospitals and their trade organizations predictably will complain that these review systems are biased, contradictory, and confusing to patients who are trying to choose where to have an elective procedure.
One effort to make sense of it all is underway by Premier, Inc., a healthcare performance improvement alliance with 2,700 hospital participants. "Right now, we're doing a good job of measuring various individual components of safety and quality in acute care," says Richard Bankowitz, MD, Premier's chief medical officer.
"But hospitals want to get a sense of their overall safety within the entire organization," and the public wants to understand that too."
Look for Premier to release a list of more than 130 PIC measures, or potential inpatient complications of patient care, conditions that weren't there when the patient came through the door, all rolled up in one easy-to-understand score.
7. Hospital-acquired blood clots
Look for more discussion about measuring how well hospitals screen their patients and administer preventive drugs to prevent blood clots, an event that until recently most hospital intensive care specialists thought were just unavoidable bad outcomes in acute care.
But that is no longer true. Increasingly, hospital medicine researchers say payers are right to demand accountability for hospital venous thromboembolism prevention strategies.
And Medicare now refuses to pay for extra care when a pulmonary embolism or a deep vein thrombosis necessitates extra care in a patient admitted to the hospital for a total hip or knee replacement.
The CDC is pushing for a uniform VTE reporting system similar to that in place for central-line bloodstream infections through the National Healthcare Safety Network.