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Hospital Chiefs Still Grappling With Reform

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 24, 2011

4. Prophylaxis against anything bad, such as adverse events, recovery audit contractor audits, sentinel events, violence, disasters,  and rowdy, disruptive physicians. For example, one session was entitled "Preparing to survive a critical incident."

5. How to set performance metrics for clinical procedures, physicians and clinical staff. A woman from a hospital system in New Haven told me that they're trying to get physicians at all their facilities to standardize their pre-surgical safety procedures. At what point do you call a time-out, and for how long?

The AHA's Pollack said that the coming years are going to be tricky.

"We have to prepare to convert to new IT systems and improve the quality and safety of patient care, and we have to reduce the cost of health care while we do these things, we have to find new and better ways to align the interests of hospitals and physicians without inviting the ire of the Justice Department. And we have to continue to deliver care under the existing model as we try to leave it behind.

"But how do we get from point A to Point B? How do you manage with one foot in one world knowing there's this other world coming?"

It was cold, rainy, snowy at times, and of course windy in Chicago.  And it'll be good to get back home. But the stories and challenges these executives shared about their journey makes me realize that many of them are paying a lot more attention to Point B, and the road ahead.

I just hope that they can all safely make that turn.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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