Showing posts from July, 2012

The power of patient stories

Last week, I spoke to a class of 100+ new medical students at their orientation. This is the class of 2016 and I had 60 minutes to talk to them about health care quality. Last year was the first time I did this - talk to students even before they started medical school about the imperative for doctors to not only continually and critically look at and improve their care, but also to pay close attention to the system of care around them.
Last year's talk was different. I thought that students would find the science of improvement intriguing. After all, these students loved and excelled in science, and were obviously highly organized, which is why and how they were here. So I spoke about Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles, Lean, Six Sigma and control charts. If this was not enough, I also spoke about process mapping and data-driven care. But I perceived that my own enthusiasm was not exactly contagious that day in the room.

Thinking more about what I should focus on during this year's hour…

Consumer Reports gets into the hospital safety rating business

If you pick up the August 2012 issue of Consumer Reports you might get to check out just how safe your local hospital is. The magazine has published safety scores for 1159 hospitals in 44 states based on rates of infections, readmissions, communication with patients, CT scanning, complications, and mortality.
Hospitals were scored on a 100-point scale. More than half of hospitals received an overall safety score below 50%. All hospitals had quite a way to go to make their care stellar. The best performing hospital, Billings Clinic in Montana, received 72 points. The worst performing hospital, Sacred Heart in Chicago, received 16 points. Most hospitals fared badly due to two systemic issues - those related to readmissions and communication.

There are some obvious issues with rating hospitals. One source of information before the Consumer Reports rating was The Leapfrog Group's controversial scoring system. This system grades hospital safety using a letter grades from A through F, muc…