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Hospital safety practices unrelated to outcomes

HealthNews/Reuters Health, October 19, 2011

Whether or not trauma centers meet national safety standards says little about a patient's risk of dying or getting an infection while there, according to new research. The findings add to evidence that quality measures meant to improve hospital outcomes may not be as effective as hoped. Earlier this month, for instance, another study found that hospitals scoring high for their treatment of children with asthma aren't better at preventing those kids from ending up in the emergency room with asthma attacks (see Reuters Health story of October 4, 2011). The latest results, published in the Archives of Surgery, show that hospital scores on the so-called Leapfrog Safe Practices Survey weren't linked to either death rates or hospital-associated infections. The survey asks hospitals about how they staff their intensive care unit, among other things, and how they try to avoid blood stream infections from catheters.