Preventable medical errors cause tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths and injuries and contribute to the escalating, unsustainable costs of the US healthcare system. The poor safety record for hospitals is a concern for all of us as we cannot choose the time and place when we may need medical services. Multiple efforts by healthcare stakeholders over the past century have improved safety in many hospitals however have failed to the eliminate preventable medical errors.
How Safe is Your Hospital? is motivated by the belief that all healthcare institutions must be top performers when it comes to patient safety. Additionally it is guided by the recognition that in order to achieve excellent healthcare outcomes, patients and citizens must work together with healthcare providers and hospitals toward that goal. When we become patients, requiring emergency medical care, it’s often too late to address hospital safety and quality concerns. Even if we are motivated to investigate the quality and safety record of the hospitals in our community, we are helpless facing the currently available complex information that is publically available on government, hospital and commercial websites and billboards. We believe that by providing relevant user friendly information that leads to individual action plan, we can 1. prevent medical errors for our selves and 2. by holding relevant stakeholders accountable for patient safety outcomes, we can achieve improved health outcomes for all patients.
In the past year our team has begun to create the framework and tools for How Safe is Your Hospital? We will utilize the Knight Foundation support to refine, test, implement and measure the impact of the fully operational plan.
When fully operational the project will include the following components:
1. Delaware Valley Health Watch, a database that utilizes the AHRQ powered MONAHRQ® desktop software, to provide reliable, timely data and information about safety performance of Philadelphia area hospitals.
2. Information about best practices and evidence based procedures to prevent medical errors. This will include information from national and governmental agencies, regulatory agencies, professional organizations such as the American College of Surgeons, and The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). The information is directed to patients as well as healthcare institutions. It includes checklists, written text as well as videos that teach about speaking up in medical encounters.
3. Information about healthcare stakeholders who are accountable for patient safety. This information includes but is not limited to hospital administrative and clinical leadership, hospital trustees, state and federal accrediting agencies, private and public “payers”. The information will provide public contact information that will facilitate public and stakeholder dialogue.
4. Actionable information to facilitate active participation in healthcare encounters as well as engagement by citizens with healthcare stakeholders.
The actionable information will take the following forms:
Give My Hospital a Checkup is a brief web based, guided survey, linked to easily accessible reliable and user friendly resources. Once operational, the checkup provides the user information about the performance of “their” hospital as well as tools (treatment plan) to take action. ( for early stage of the checkup click here)
Hospital in the Spotlight: Over a period of a year, each of the hospitals in the Philadelphia region will be put in the “spotlight”. Information about patient safety performance outcomes, comparison to other hospitals locally and to top performers nationally is included. Contextual information about the featured hospital will be curetted. The hospital profile will be promoted by QR code, # Hospital hash-tags, a newsletter and Facebook. Additionally, we have created a shirt that links user to hospital data. ( for early stage concept for Hospital in the Spotlight click here)
The Safe Healthcare Service Contract: The contract “formalizes” what you, your provider and the hospital will do to achieve the best outcome for your medical problem. Unlike typical informed consent forms, the contract focuses on the collaborative effort to achieve the best outcome.
Our current plan and database will be further refined by:
Literature review and expert input
During the first phase of the project we will conduct literature review, get input from experts, initiate discussion in social media platforms such as LinkedIn and review programs that have been undertaken.
We will conduct focus groups that include citizens in representative communities, healthcare providers, hospital trustees and hospital administrators to test the concept of The Safe Healthcare Service Contract as well as the other features of the project.
Design and testing
Utilize the information to design and test a user interface for database and the actionable tools.
We will role out the project through local media, utilize social media tools and engage with local hospitals and their organizations through mail, meetings and open hospital board meetings
Monitor hospital websites and other public reporting of patient safety outcomes. Track reported outcomes through updates reported by the hospitals to required government agencies. Social media tools may be utilized for individual reporting of medical errors.
About the team:
How Safe is Your Hospital? is a Citizens4health initiative. In addition to the Citizens4health “team” ( Brief bios here) we will utilize digital technology, marketing professionals as well as other professionals required to implement and assess the impact of the project. We have also reached out to and will collaborate with government and hospital based patient safety experts, organizations and groups in this “space”.
Citizens4Health seeks to be an organization of citizens intent on re-framing the public debate on the healthcare challenges facing our nation. At present we are a self funded “labor of love".
We have created a number of initiatives that invite citizens to imagine and engage in a process that brings about a sustainable healthcare system which provides excellent services that are affordable and accessible to all Americans. We focus the conversation on one, simple question: