IHI: Time to Get Serious About Healthcare Quality, Costs

Cheryl Clark, 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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