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Stop the Blustering About High-risk Patients

Cheryl Clark, October 21, 2010

"I speak as a physician here," Romano continues. "The culture in medical practice, and in healthcare in general, is to try to do a good job and to strive for continual improvement. It's embarrassing when you're marked as a bad outlier. It leaves most of us to question: What did we do wrong? What could we have done better?"

The take home message is that providing transparency and accountability with public release of this information "appears to be associated with improved performance across the system statewide," Romano says. "It does not appear to have had an obvious adverse effect in terms of avoidance of high risk patients."

Transparency is not going away. In fact, the Affordable Care Act will soon make dozens of hospital outcomes reportable and comparable. I expect many hospitals and physicians who do well on any metric will shout their success to the world.

The hospitals that don't do well should be prepared to deal with it and improve.

So perhaps the blustering should stop.

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1 comments on "Stop the Blustering About High-risk Patients"


B Satiani (10/22/2010 at 11:23 AM)
Ms Clark I have always supported that all outcomes should be publicly available. Nevertheless, this concern about high risk patients being turned away that you call 'bluster' talk is real. Someone will have to take care of real high risk patients and calculate how much the additional possible mortality will hurt their overall profile. When your parent is that high risk patient, you might have a different take on the issue. I have been in that position as a treating physician and as a child of a high risk patient. Careful with words like 'bluster.'