Article on Hospital Safety by ‘Consumer Reports’ is Quite Disturbing

According to a report in the August 2012 issue of “Consumer Reports”, infections, surgical error, and other medical harm contribute to the deaths of 180,000 hospital patients in the U.S. each year and another 1.4 million are seriously hurt by their hospital care. According to the article, medical harm is the third leading cause of death in the United States, but the government and the staffs at many hospitals are not paying enough attention to improving patient safety.

Because of the importance of the issue, Consumer Reports has rated hospitals for patient safety. Specifically, they rated hospitals on 6 categories – infections, readmissions, communication, CT scanning, complications, and mortality. In all, they ranked 1,154 hospitals in 44 states. The worst hospital in the U.S. had a score of only 16 out of a possible 100. The highest ranked hospital had a score of only 72. Consumer Reports concluded that all hospitals, including even the best ones, have room for considerable improvement.

This will come as no surprise to readers of “Establishing A Culture of Patient Safety” (American Society for Quality, 2011). The book describes the behaviors of healthcare professionals in distress and explains how persons who knew how to apply the concepts of Process Communication were able to invite them out of distress, thereby enabling them to think clearly and perform their duties at a high level. Communication improved; patient safety and patient satisfaction improved; staff morale and productivity improved; and the number of medical harms was greatly reduced.

“Establishing A Culture of Patient Safety” also has graphs demonstrating how a hospital in Alabama improved patient satisfaction, staff morale and productivity after staff members were trained in, and began using, the concepts of Process Communications. Also, an 80 facility healthcare system (68 hospitals) was able to reduce “all accidents, including accidental deaths, below what we considered possible”, after staff members were trained in the concepts and also improved their processes.

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