If you are a nurse or doctor and practice in a hospital today you understand the feeling of being on a fast train that has gone out of control. You and your patients are living in a rapidly changing environment, and the end point for this very fast ride is an unknown. Yet, you practice to achieve best outcomes for your patients, perhaps with variable resource and staffing. But, if the numbers (those measurements of outcome, satisfaction and other factors) are not in the ballpark, everyone suffers because money is lost to the hospital in which you practice.
In a recent post for Forbes magazine, Leah Binder (CEO The Leapfrog Group) provided an overview of Disruptive Writings in Healthcare for the past year. Under three subtitles of “Gored Ox”, the role of money, the role of culture in clinical care, and finally the role of the patient today, we see publications that are continuing to fuel the national discussion on healthcare.
One article in particular is Beth Howard’s “Lessons from America’s Safest Hospitals” in AARP newsletter. Reminding the association’s large readership that 180,000 people die because of mistakes we make in hospitals….every year.
These stories are not easy to read, and if you have ever been in the chain of events that lead to a bad outcome it is devastating. There are an endless number of initiatives underway to address the disconnects that lead to errors, and some organizations are making great strides. We must highlight those successes as the efforts to keep our patients safe and achieve best outcomes continue.
But I repeat my question here, What do our patients know about their hospital care? As busy clinicians are you seeing patients more “engaged” in their own plan of care, asking more questions, bringing their medication lists with them, expecting a safety crosscheck of their name, date of birth for every intervention or medication, and someone who will be their advocate at the bedside to do these things when they are not able?
Our next several posts will continue this thread and I invite comments from you because this is an essential conversation for every busy clinician. The role of the patient is said to be changing, but where are we at this moment in time?