Patient safety not improving
Industry needs better tools to gauge success: Binder
Atrio of independent studies released last week bolstered the view that U.S. patient safety is not improving despite the efforts of doctors, hospitals, the federal government and various patient-safety groups.
“The more you know about patient safety, the more shocking the issue becomes,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, the Washington-based employers’ coalition.
One study, published in Health Affairs and backed by the Commonwealth Fund, showed the U.S. trailing France, Germany and the U.K. in healthcare preventable mortality, also known as amenable mortality (see chart, p. 6).
Another study by the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality revealed that as many as 40,500 critically ill adult U.S. hospital patients die annually with an undiagnosed medical condition that might have contributed to or caused their death. That’s 28% of adult ICU patients. For 8% of those patients, the mistake may have led to or caused death.
Binder said she was most dismayed by the results from a study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The study’s research, done by staff at Emory University in Atlanta, showed that 11.3% of general surgery patients were readmitted within 30 days of discharge.
There needs to be a shift on how the industry gauges success, Binder contended. It shouldn’t be who has the best MRI machine. It should be who has the fewest complications from surgeries.