The Psychology Behind Antibiotic Misuse

The Psychology Behind Antibiotic Misuse

Posted by  | Organizational and Cultural Change, Preventing Patient Harm

None of us wants to live in a world without access to lifesaving antibiotics. No patient should be subject to an allergic reaction or organ dysfunction from these drugs. No one wants to contract a potentially deadly form of diarrhea, claiming roughly 30,000 lives a year in the U.S., that can take hold after antibiotics wipe out(...)

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Blockbuster Data: How Reporting Surgical Volumes Could Save Lives

Blockbuster Data: How Reporting Surgical Volumes Could Save Lives

Posted by  | Measurement of Safety and Quality, Preventing Patient Harm

If there was a wonder drug to save the lives of infants with serious heart abnormalities, doctors would be sure to prescribe it. Parents would insist that their children get it. The company that invented it would get rich. But there already is something that can have as dramatic an impact on these young lives(...)

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Supporting ‘Second Victims’ Also Helps Hospital Budgets

Supporting ‘Second Victims’ Also Helps Hospital Budgets

Posted by  | Organizational and Cultural Change, Preventing Patient Harm

Saving their hospital nearly $2 million a year wasn't the goal for Albert Wu and Cheryl Connors when they created a program to support traumatized colleagues. Wu, a physician and health services researcher, and Connors, a patient safety specialist from a nursing background, were responding to a human need: Health care professionals too often had to(...)

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“War Gaming” for Patient Safety

“War Gaming” for Patient Safety

Posted by  | Designing Safer Systems, Organizational and Cultural Change

Over a decade ago, I consulted on a project for the U.S. Air Force involving very large-scale simulations. These "war games" involved more than 1,500 participants around the world — some in simulators and some using real equipment in training mode. In a warehouse-sized building, a wall of gigantic screens captured the mock battle, as a(...)

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A Clear-Eyed Approach to Reducing Costly Health Care Regulations

A Clear-Eyed Approach to Reducing Costly Health Care Regulations

Posted by  | Measurement of Safety and Quality

Johns Hopkins ophthalmologist Oliver Schein has found a simple way to save a half a billion dollars a year from our country's health-care bill, with no negative effect on patient health. The only thing standing in the way is a stubborn government requirement. Seventeen years ago, Dr. Schein and colleagues published a study finding that(...)

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Breaking Down the Barriers to a Second Opinion

Breaking Down the Barriers to a Second Opinion

Posted by  | Patient-Centered Care

When patients receive life-altering diagnoses, face aggressive treatments, or have misgivings about a provider’s conclusions, they may wonder if they should seek a second opinion. A recent study by Mayo Clinic researchers suggests that patients who do get second opinions frequently end up with different diagnoses. Of 286 cases referred by primary care practices to(...)

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Hospitals Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Safety

Hospitals Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Safety

Posted by  | Organizational and Cultural Change, Preventing Patient Harm

The moment that an accreditation team shows up unannounced can spike the pulse of even the most seasoned hospital executive. The next several days will amount to one big exam for the safety and quality of care, as surveyors meet with executives, managers and care teams, and watch first-hand as care is delivered. Make the(...)

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How We Can Engineer a Less Costly Health Care System

How We Can Engineer a Less Costly Health Care System

Posted by  | Designing Safer Systems, Patient-Centered Care, Preventing Patient Harm

If we want to rein in the costs of the U.S. health-care system — now equal to nearly 18 percent of the nation's gross domestic product — we cannot ignore the fragmented technologies used to help heal and save lives. At first glance, the devices, monitors, electronic health records and machines found in today's hospitals(...)

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More Science, Less Sausage-Making Needed for Hospital Quality Measures

More Science, Less Sausage-Making Needed for Hospital Quality Measures

Posted by  | Measurement of Safety and Quality

If you understand statistics and possess the intestinal fortitude to examine a ranking methodology, you will recognize that it involves ingredients that have to be recombined, repackaged and renamed. It's messy, like sausage-making. This is not to say that the end product — hospital rankings — are distasteful. Patients deserve valid, transparent and timely information(...)

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