Safety lead­ers to fo­cus on mea­sure­ment over­load

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Sabriya Rice

Qual­ity im­prove­ment ex­perts meet­ing in Florida this week will ex­am­ine three is­sues that may be hin­der­ing progress as they de­bate the suc­cess of ef­forts to re­duce pre­ventable hos­pi­tal er­rors.

Em­pha­sis will be placed on pro­vid­ing con­sis­tent care in ev­ery hos­pi­tal depart­ment, as well as across the con­tin­uum of care, and sus­tain­ing those gains as new safety mea­sure­ments are eval­u­ated, said Dr. Don Gold­mann, chief med­i­cal and sci­ence of­fi­cer for the In­sti­tute for Health­care Im­prove­ment, whose an­nual con­fer­ence is Dec 7-10 in Or­lando.

Last week, the Agency for Health­care Re­search and Qual­ity re­leased a re­port es­ti­mat­ing that 1.3 mil­lion fewer pa­tients were harmed in U.S. hos­pi­tals in the three years fol­low­ing the launch of the HHS-funded Part­ner­ship for Pa­tients in 2010.

But a Jour­nal of Pa­tient Safety re­port in Septem­ber 2013 es­ti­mated that the num­ber of pre­ma­ture deaths as­so­ci­ated with pre­ventable harms was more than four times higher than the 98,000 de­tailed in the eye-open­ing In­sti­tute of Medicine re­port To Err is Hu­man pub­lished in 1999.

Get­ting con­sis­tent re­sults through­out the hos­pi­tal and across the con­tin­uum of care is prob­lem­atic even for health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions that have rel­a­tively ad­vanced safety ini­tia­tives, Gold­mann said. And as new fo­cus ar­eas for qual­ity and safety gen­er­ate ad­di­tional per­for­mance re­port­ing mea­sures, “It’s very easy to lose trac­tion on ar­eas you’ve been do­ing well on,” he said. “Sus­tain­ing gains be­comes chal­leng­ing when you keep adding and not sub­tract­ing.”

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