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Best Quality Columns of 2012 from A to Z

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 3, 2013

D is for Disaster
We learn from our mistakes, right?  When Frankenstorm Sandy took out 705-bed NYU Langone Medical Center, staff scrambled to evacuate hundreds of fragile patients and move them to other hospitals. Politicians were upset.  Talk show hosts got on their high horses.

How could this major hospital, which sits right next to the East River, put its backup generators in the basement? This column notes that the hospital had previously decided to spend its money elsewhere, on new CT, MRI, and PET imaging technologies, rather than on upgrading this essential piece of infrastructure.

F is for Flunk
When The Leapfrog Group in June began grading each hospital's safety, many hospital officials were enraged. They blasted the organization's methodology, fairness, and even accused its leaders of trying to make money by selling the right to market those achievements.

H is for Harm
I was somewhat surprised at the strongly positive response from many hospital quality chiefs to this column, which described the launch of a Facebook page devoted to patient harm. I saw many hospital leaders, some of whom I would not have expected, join the site to observe, and perhaps to contribute. 

The Facebook page idea is monitored by ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning non-profit journalism group looking for actual stories about harm. The group also hopes to help illuminate problem areas to prevent such errors from happening to others.

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