Performance | Patient Safety | Surgeon’s Perspective

A Surgeon Offers 5 Ways to Make Patient Care Safer

In a recent Wall Street Journal report, surgeon and author, Marty Makary, offers five ways to position enhancing patient safety, thus enhancing the performance of the organization.

Here are summarized excerpts, along with a video of WSJ’s Gary Rosen’s interview with the Dr. Makary, as well as a link to the the full article.

Reviewing Dr. Makary’s perspective offers an opportunity for leaders in healthcare to consider and determine how his offerings may be helpful to the performance of his/her organization(s).

Online Dashboards
Dr. Makary recommends that every hospital have an online informational “dashboard” that includes its rates for infection, readmission (called “bounce back”), surgical complications and “never event” errors (mistakes that should never occur, such as leaving a surgical sponge inside a patient). The dashboard lists the hospital’s annual volume for each type of surgery that it performs (including the percentage done in a minimally invasive way) and patient satisfaction scores.

Safety Culture Scores
How safe do employees feel in communicating safety concerns or questions. Scores appear to correlate strongly with infection rates and patient outcomes. Good teamwork means safer care. Public access to such information is essential for every hospital in America.

Cameras
Use videotapes to review procedures, including handwashing. (Some Risk Management professionals actually advise against videotaping, but when we are searching for the truth, videos can be helpful). Details regarding providing a score system for best practices when reviewing videos is offered as an example.

Open Notes
Dictating notes with the patient listening in at the end of his or her visit has provided opportunities for patients to offer corrections or information. Additionally, by providing patients online access to doctor’s notes, patients also have the opportunity to point out areas requiring corrections or information.

No More Gagging
Encourage open dialogue about medical mistakes. Gag orders are utterly contrary to a patient’s right to know and to the concept of learning from our errors.

Dr. Makary’s offerings are creating dialog, and provide an opportunity to consider recommendations, and to potentially enhance the performance of healthcare organizations.

References
How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us   Marty Makary, WSJ, September 21, 2012

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