Jun 8, 2012

Transparency as a quality improvement tool

I watched Paul Levy's interview on the IHI website this week about how he used transparency as a management tool to improve care. While Levy was CEO and President of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, he wrote an extremely popular blog called Running a Hospital (he has since retired from this position, and his blog is now called, Not Running a Hospital).

I watched transfixed as Levy described how, as CEO, he shared real-time clinical outcome data for his hospital on his blog, in the process changing his hospital's culture, accelerating improvement, reducing harm, and making transparency the norm.

Turns out that others have implemented this concept with success. Earlier this year, a study published in Health Affairs, looked at more than 400 primary care clinics in Wisconsin to see how well they delivered care for diabetes. The researchers found that a focus on publicly-reported quality data combined with participation in quality improvement projects, improved care for diabetes. Clinics involved in this study were more likely to contribute to patient registries, implement prompts for clinicians about recommended clinical practices, and utilize patient reminders.

A few years ago, The Annals of Internal Medicine published a systematic review, The Evidence That Publishing Patient Care Performance Data Improves Quality of Care. This review showed that public reporting of performance data stimulates quality improvement activity at the hospital level.

Watch Paul Levy's interview, Using a Blog to Improve Health Care, and see why I found it inspiring:
- Ulfat Shaikh

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