The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs 11 city-owned hospitals, will start today to put data online on infection and death rates. The hospitals treat 1.3 million patients a year.
According to an article in the Metro section of today’s New York Times, the effort for greater transparency is driven by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as part of a public health initiative. It also comes due to an effort by the hospitals to improve patient safety. (See also, New York City Reports Lowest Number of Claims In 10 Years.)
This web site will allow the public to see, among other things, the overall death rate, the rate of deaths after heart attacks, preventable bloodstream infections and pneumonia cases.
The medical industry is not exactly known for its transparency when it comes to medical errors and poor outcomes. Which seems to put this initiative near the forefront of identifying, and hopefully treating, systemic problems within the institutions that have led to incalculable misery, death and medical malpractice lawsuits.
This initiative comes on the heels of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projecting that 1.7 million patients nationwide get infections each year during a hospital stay, and that of those, 99,000 would die. The centers estimate the cost of treating such infections at more than $30 billion a year.
It also comes on the heels of Medicare refusing to pay for the treatment of avoidable infections and other hospital-caused injuries. According to a Jacob Goldstein WSJ Health Blog posting earlier this week, with money on the line, hospitals have already responded by changing policies for the better.
All of which leads one to wonder: Is there a hospital health care revolution taking place?
More info at: The Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths