HPCI News: The technology exists to do it right, but so many hospitals would rather spend the money on fountains or valet parking

To: Members and selected others

On June 20th the Des Moines Register published an article entitled "Ex-staffer says hospital hid risks to 2 patients". It reported on a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs who resigned his post last year after his supervisor refused to tell patients that surgical instruments used on them were dirty and hadn't been properly sterilized. The nurse was quoted as saying: "The technology exists to do it right, but so many hospitals would rather spend the money on fountains or valet parking."

If you ask the patients at Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs whether they would rather the hospital spend the money on making things safer for patients or for fountains or valet parking what would they say? In reality patients don't have a choice since they don't know about the hospital's patient safety record. More transparency of hospitals, and in the health care sector in general, will help improve quality and drive out cost. Some states, such as Minnesota, California and the State of Washington, are making good progess doing this. Iowa should join in and become a leader.

In California, the Pacific Business Group on Health has adopted the following five year strategic vision: "A healthcare marketplace in which information is transparent, reliable and easily accessible by the public, rewards most effective providers, while also motivating purchasers and consumers to select high quality and cost-effective providers." Accelerate transparency projects include the California Healthcare Performance Information System, Online Physician Rating and The Patient Assessment Survey.

The State of Washington releases "The Community Checkup", an annual report on health care quality and value at medical groups and hospitals in the state. Hospital specific comparative scores are for patient safety, death rates, never events, re-admission rates, early elective delivery rates compared to goal rate and others. Medical groups and clinic comparative scores include appropriate use of care (avoidance of antibiotics, X-rays, MRI and CT scans), patient experience and others.

The State of Minnesota sponsors a website "Minnesota Health Information: A Guide to Health Care Quality and Cost in Minnesota". It provides one place where Minnesotans can link to many resources of information on health care quality and cost. Also, MN Community Measurement, a non-profit community organization, is a public source of usable and reliable information about health care quality to consumers, providers and purchasers.

The Des Moines Register article can be seen by clicking on the following link: http://dmreg.co/SYHbxm.

Paul M. Pietzsch, MPH
HPCI - IHBA Office
4430 Ashley Park Drive
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
(515) 778-6300

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