HealthLeaders Media QualityLeaders - November 20, 2008 | Safety Is In the Eye of the Beholder View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Safety Is In the Eye of the Beholder
Jay Moore, managing editor, HealthLeaders Media
Everyone from senior executives to frontline staffers will tell you that patient safety is of the utmost importance. Organizations spend considerable time crafting initiatives to make patients safer at every stage of the care process. But when different parts of the organization harbor extremely different perceptions about the organization's safety culture, even the most well-intentioned program can be undermined.
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Nov. 20, 2008
Editor's Picks

C. diff rate in hospitals greater than previously thought
Some grim news here on the infection control front: A new survey shows that C. diff infections are spreading in U.S. hospitals at a rate of up to 20 times greater than previously thought. There aren't a lot of solutions offered in this piece—it's just one more reminder of what a critical issue infection control has become in a relatively short amount of time. [Read More]

Chronically ill U.S. patients often skip care due to costs
This piece details a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund that found chronically ill U.S. patients report more medical errors, spend more out-of-pocket money, and report more generally negative hospital experiences than patients in seven other industrialized countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. The notion that the United States doesn't get enough return on its considerable healthcare spending is a familiar refrain, but this story, to me, really drives the point home. I'm not totally certain the survey was always comparing apples to apples; researchers interviewed 7,500 people who had at least one chronic condition and had recently been hospitalized, had major surgery, or a recent serious illness, but costs and access vary from condition to condition, of course. And while something like out-of-pocket spending is fairly black and white, other perceptions of healthcare quality can hinge much more on an individual's personal perceptions. But it's a sobering story, nevertheless. [Read More]

MRSA: Patients revolt against hospital secrecy
A lengthy story here about consumer advocates' push for legislation to require hospitals to provide the public with infection rate report cards and to screen patients for MRSA. Some 25 states have some sort of infection rate disclosure requirement, but considerably fewer have mandatory MRSA screening laws. This piece uses the harrowing experience of an Illinois woman who had MRSA after ankle surgery (and is now a well-known patient advocate) to underscore the failings of many organizations in both preventing and disclosing MRSA. The story is consumer-centric and doesn't give hospitals much of a say—providers are definitely painted as the bad guy here—but whether we want to admit it or not, the things described in the story do happen, so I think the piece offers a glimpse into how some consumers view hospitals' infection efforts. [Read More]

Happy Thanksgiving!
From all of us at HealthLeaders Media, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. QualityLeaders will not publish next week, but will be back December 4.
This Week's Headlines
Drive-by flu shots
TIME - November 13, 2008

Blueprint outlines overhaul in Oregon
The Oregonian - November 15, 2008

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

From HealthLeaders Magazine
What's Your Brand?
That's what your patients want to know. But hospitals are discovering the same old differentiators aren't good enough anymore. Is YOUR organization ready to deliver on its brand promise? [Read More]   HealthLeaders November 2008
Leaders Forum
Quality: It's All About the Bike
We've got it all wrong as to what constitutes "healthcare quality," says contributor Morley Robbins. Robbins says our mistake is in thinking that quality is a unicycle—a singularly focused discipline that measures and seeks to improve the caliber of our clinical and technical processes, thus assuring superior patient outcomes. And while these clinically oriented processes and investments are centrally important to improved patient care delivery, this singular focus compromises the real depth of what determines "quality"—particularly as it relates to patients, their families, and caregivers. [Read More]
Audio Feature
Tracey Moorhead, president and CEO of DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance, discusses the opportunities for population health improvement and DM companies in a medical home and the changes they may need to make. [Listen Now]
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