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IHI: Time to Get Serious About Healthcare Quality, Costs

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 13, 2012

It's a rare day when Maureen Bisognano, President and CEO for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, says anything negative about anybody.  Usually she's effusively praising systems or individuals who've found creative ways to improve care.

But on Tuesday, during her opening keynote address to more than 5,000 providers attending the 24th IHI National in Orlando, she made a brief exception.

She first heaped praise on how one hospital treated a patient she knew named Jess, who had a sudden and serious medical issue requiring emergency hospitalization. But for the way another unnamed hospital treated a patient whose care she also personally observed, she let the criticism fly.

That patient was her brother-in-law, Bill. 

What happened to him, she says, was an example of how even with all the progress in healthcare reform so far, many hospitals and systems have a very long way to go.

In a hallway conversation, she elaborated on her brother-in-law's story of confusion and anxiety after he underwent a colostomy procedure.

"When he was admitted to his semi-private room, we experienced the opposite of Jess's care. There was no white board, (a wall hanging to orient the patient and other caregivers on the care plan) and there was no team. So each individual professional came in one by one, and often offered him completely conflicting advice.

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1 comments on "IHI: Time to Get Serious About Healthcare Quality, Costs"


knowwareman (12/13/2012 at 4:19 PM)
According to Press Ganey, ED Length of Stay is four hours, unchanged for a decade. In 1999, To Err is Human alarmed the public with 99,000 preventable deaths a year. Now that we are better at tracking, we know the number is more like 400,000 per year. The IOS says there's $750 Billion in preventable expense every year. And the Wall Street Journal says if we could eliminate that cost it would cut the U.S. deficit in half. In general, Health Care has been admiring the problem of sluggish, error-prone patient care hoping it will go away. It has not. Aggressive application of the Magnificient Seven Tools of Lean Six Sigma would move most healthcare organizations from 3-to-5 sigma in 18-24 months.