Progress on patient safety is “excruciatingly slow”

nurse patient safetyFrom Forbes magazine and Fierce Healthcare:

As one doctor puts it, hospital CEOs don’t lay awake at night thinking about how to improve patient safety.  Even a death due to a hospital’s actions has very few ramifications for the facility.   Until it does, patient safety won’t improve.

Hospitals lack clear and strong incentives to make patient care safer, Ashish K. Jha, M.D., a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Forbes contributor Leah Binder.  While some improvement has happened in infection controls, for example, the push for other areas of patient safety has been “excruciatingly slow.”

Patient Safety, Jha advises, is an organizational commitment more than a personal commitment among doctors, nurses, and other licensed hospital staff.  He says no CEO got fired because patient safety suffered.   He’d stress long-term patient success as a proper metric for evaluating hospitals, such as readmission rates at 90 days.

Patients in Minnesota will soon start evaluating hospitals for other metrics, such as staffing reports, and making healthcare decisions on how safe they’ll feel and how transparent each hospital wants to be with its figures.  Until there’s a minimum standard of patient care, these figures are the only promise of safety a patient can expect.


Patient Story

arlene townsend staffing award

Unsafe staffing costs a Florida facility $1 billion

From Trial Magazine, March 2014 issue: Trial Magazine, 3/11/14 VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS Arlene Townsend, 63 suffered a stroke and required 24-hour care. She was admitted to Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center, a nursing home owned by Trans Healthcare, Inc. In the three years leading up to her death, Townsend suffered numerous fall resulting in broken bones and lacerations, infections, significant weight loss, chronic constipation, skin breakdowns, dehydration, and other problems. She is survived by her adult son. Townsend’s estate sued Trans Healthcare, alleging that it had understaffed the nursing home to increase profits and failed to provide adequate care, including protecting Townsend from falls, ensuring a safe environment, and documenting changes to her condition. The court entered a judgment of liability against the defendant, and the…
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