“Cured yesterday of my disease, died today of my doctor” – Shakespeare
Medical errors have been officially ranked as the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Not that I think that medical malpractice has increased, mind you. On the contrary, I think that health care teams have been doing a phenomenal job at bettering mortality rates, but it was never socially acceptable to list hospital mortalities amongst other causes until now.
This transparency may appear disheartening, but it is the basis for a rally of regulation according to Health Leaders Media. Medical doctors from around the country addressed U.S. senators on July 18th to encourage the regulation capabilities of the CDC, specifically to create a means for monitoring, regulating, and transparently reporting on the top incidence rates and causes of harm.
At the moment, hospital statics are and transparency is regulated by individual states. While Washington state is required to report the transplant rates for hip and knee surgeries, Texan hospitals are not required to publish – or any – such data.
This movement would be a large imposition to the CDC, but there is not a more fitting company for the job. Volunteered transparency can be very unappealing for the the salary of a CEO or the reputation of an individual hospital. For instance, a hospital may volunteer their statistics based on good faith, but if their patrons have no standard of comparison from other hospitals, how do they know what is good, poor, or normal? It is this fear – that good information becomes mis-information – that limits any good intentions to publish one’s own negative-looking statistics.
Two of the lobbyists in Washington were Ashish Jha, MD, founder of the Initiative on Global Health quality at the Harvard School of Public Health and Peter Pronovost, MD, senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Both concluded that “until we get to the point where the CEO of the hospital is lying awake at night worrying about patient safety, I don’t think we’ll really move the needle beyond these leading organizations, which are going to do it no matter what incentives are there.”
Well said, I think.
Lisa Cocco, PA-S 2016