The Joint Commission (a private membership and hospital accreditation body) has released its 2009 Annual Report on Quality and Safety providing a summary of rates for performance measures for a number of evidence-based treatments for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care between 2002 and 2008.
Evidence-based treatments are backed by science where patients typically experience the best medical outcomes; such as, giving surgery patients antibiotics one hour before surgery, or doing a blood culture for pneumonia patients who are treated in the ICU. These best practices can help protect patients from infections and other complications that arise from poor quality care.
The JC reports that the magnitude of national improvement on these measures ranged from 4.9 percent to 58.8 percent. According to the Joint Commission president Mark Chassin, “[W]e are beginning to see the kind of consistent excellence to which we aspire for all of health care.”
That’s a strong statement for a health system that causes more than 100,000 deaths and harms millions more per year. While it’s important to know hospitals’ rates of improvement on quality performance measures, it means little to the public without the reporting of outcomes such as mortality and infection rates.
Until all hospitals provide outcome data for their treatments rendered, positive statements like these from the Joint Commission can’t tell us the whole story of our health system’s improvement. What is your hospital story? Leave a comment or tell us here!
2 Posted by Kathy Jackson at 01/21/10 11:06 AM
After reading the report. I can tell you that the information is incomplete and the outcomes have been manipulated to portray greater positive outcomes than actual. Negative outcomes are grossly under-reported by the Joint Commission as they have become nothing more than Cheerleaders for our Medical Facilities.
The Honor system for these Medical Facilities and some professionals are anything but Honorable. It is difficult to trust any outcome;when the studies are voluntary and when accountability has no foundation.
3 Posted by Sharon Brown, PhD, RN at 01/21/10 05:29 PM
This issue is another illustrates of a big problem with our current system. The hospitals provide lots of campaign donations to powerful congressmen. Those donations help them stay in office indefinitely. Why would they support legislation which might negatively affect those hospitals? I believe congressional term limits would go a long way to alleviate this result and would help keep congressmen immune to this kind of influence.
4 Posted by Marilyn Smith at 02/10/10 02:26 PM
There is no doubt that hospital outcome numbers are manipulated to reflect the highest quality care as standard practice. What is needed is a consumer-based organization (much like Consumer Reports) to police all health care organizations. At present, the bottom line is always economics and the profit motive is clear in decision making throughout our health care system. A revolt is in order!
The "joint commish' is a big joke and has been for some time. It is more important for them to run their 'white gloves' over the top of a door to check for dust than to honestly work on HAI. The amount of HAI's has increased since they were first made public, (certainly not by the hospitals themselves)by families of patients that have been killed by these infections, this neglect. Or the families have tried to write about the terrible suffering their loved ones have gone through and often died. In 1995, 99,000 patients died from HAI. In 2009, more than 99,000 patients have died, they just did not make the paper like the patients at Bridgeport Hospital did after their open heart surgery. Lets Do something about this!!!!!!