Patient Safety

We Are Not Done Changing

Recently, the on-line version of JAMA published an original investigation entitled "Patient Mortality During Unannounced Accreditation Surveys at US Hospitals". The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effect of heightened vigilance during unannounced accreditation surveys on safety and quality of inpatient care. The authors found that there was a significant reduction in mortality in patients admitted during the week of surveys by The Joint Commission. The change was more significant in major teaching hospitals, where mortality fell from 6.41% to 5.93% during survey weeks, a 5.9% relative decrease. The positive effects of being monitored have been well documented in all kinds of arenas, such as hand washing and antibiotic stewardship. But mortality? This is an interesting outcome, especially considering a recent ordeal I went through with my dear sister-in-law. She was on vacation in a somewhat remote location and suffers from a chronic illness, which requires her to…

Should Resource Overutilization Be Considered an Adverse Event?

We have all seen the Choosing Wisely lists and the new “Things We Do for No Reason” section in the Journal of Hospital Medicine. We have heard a lot about common areas of overuse in hospitals. Sure, there have been some success stories of hospitalists leading projects to decrease an area of overuse, but when you get down to it, have we really done much to not just recognize overuse but to actually decrease it? Think about the patient safety movement over the last two decades. Telling horrifying stories of wrong-limb surgeries may have caught headlines, but that did not do much to stop the problem from still happening. The medical world had to shift our thinking from one of individual blame to recognizing the role of systems and environments in creating these problems. We had to put structures in place, such as safety review committees and mandated processes for…

A GIF Is Worth 3000 Words: Introducing #VisualAbstract for #JHMChat

by Charlie M. Wray, DO, MS
If you’re like most hospitalists, your day usually starts around dawn (or dusk, for our nocturnal colleagues). After arriving at the hospital and quickly receiving sign out on your patients, you down the last bit of coffee and rush off to spend a morning on the wards. As you’re getting into a rhythm, the charge nurse on 3C grabs you as you walk by and lets you know that Mr. Sanchez’s son arrived and would like an update. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP: “Mrs. Jones wants to know when she can eat.” Just as you head her way, the cardiology fellow sees you and wants to discuss the follow-up plan on Mr. Aldridge… By 3PM, you’ve grabbed a quick bite to eat, and you’re likely leading the Patient Safety Committee meeting (while still fielding intermittent pages, of course). By early evening, you’re placing a few last minute orders and putting out small…
Charlie M. Wray, DO, MS is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. He completed medical school at Western University – College of Osteopathic Medicine, residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center, and a Hospital Medicine Research Fellowship at The University of Chicago. Dr. Wray’s research interests are focused on inpatient care transitions, care fragmentation in the hospital setting, and overutilization of hospital resources. Additionally, he has strong interests in medical education, with specific focus in evidence-based medicine, the implementation of value-based care, and how learners negotiate medical uncertainty. Dr. Wray can often be found tweeting under @WrayCharles.

Do Clinicians Understand Quality Metric Data?

The number and complexity of quality metrics within healthcare continues to expand, many of which are used to compare performance between hospitals, systems, and/or clinicians. To make these comparisons fair, many quality reporting agencies attempt to “risk stratify” these metrics, so as not to penalize those caring for higher complexity patients. Although laudable, these attempts also increase the complexity of the data and may reduce the ability of clinicians to understand and analyze quality performance. A recent article in the Journal of Hospital Medicine explores clinicians’ understanding of quality metrics using central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) as an example. The investigators used a unique Twitter-based survey to explore clinicians’ interpretation of basic concepts in public-reported CLABSI rates and ratios. I recently caught up with the lead author, Dr. Sushant Govindan, to better understand his team’s research and its implications for quality reporting. Dr. Govindan is a Pulmonary-Critical Care fellow…

The Nursing Home Get Out of Jail Card (“We Don’t Want Our Patient Back”). It’s Now Adios.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has not updated its rules ("conditions for participation") for nursing homes in twenty-five years. Late last year they finally did. Many of the changes will have an impact on the daily lives of NH residents but are far removed from hospital medicine.  Think a resident's ability to pick their own roommate and have all hours visitors.  However, there are a few changes that intersect with HM, and a notable one will affect how you respond to a frequently encountered roadblock long-term care facilities sometimes throw our way. First, though, some of the changes CMS finalized.  With SHM members now moving into the post-acute and LTC realm, several have real relevance (I only cite a sliver of them): (more…)
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