Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Patients with learning disabilities become ‘invisible’ in hospitals, says study

Patients with learning disabilities become ‘invisible’ in hospitals, says study.

From the 17th January 2014 ScienceDaily article

Hospital patients with learning disabilities face longer waits and mismanaged treatment due to a failure to understand them by nursing staff, says a new report.

In one case, a patient who had problems making herself understood was accused of being drunk by hard pressed hospital staff.

It is estimated that one in 50 people in England have some form of learning disabilities such as Down’s syndrome.

Dr Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, senior research fellow in nursing at St George’s, University of London and Kingston University, said: “People with learning disabilities are largely invisible within the hospitals, which meant that their additional needs are not recognised or understood by staff.

“Our study found many examples of good practice, but also many examples where the safety of people with learning disabilities in hospitals was at risk.”

Dr Tuffrey-Wijne, a co-author of the study who works at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, a partnership between the two universities, added: “The most common safety issues were delays and omissions of care and treatment.

“Some examples come down to basic nursing care like providing enough nutrition but other serious consequences were also seen in our study.

It found that the main barrier to better and safer care was a lack of effective flagging systems, leading to a failure to identify patients with learning disabilities in the first place.

 

Read entire article here

 

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January 21, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Database Reveals Thousands of Hospital Violation Reports New Database Reveals Thousands of Hospital Violation Reports

Hospital

Hospital (Photo credit: Ralf Heß)

 

From the March 20, 2013 State Line article

 

Hospitals make mistakes, sometimes deadly mistakes.  A patient may get the wrong medication or even undergo surgery intended for another person.  When errors like these are reported, state and federal officials inspect the hospital in question and file a detailed report.

Now, for the first time, this vital information on the quality and safety of the nation’s hospitals has been made available to the public online.

A new website, www.hospitalinspections.org, includes detailed reports of hospital violations dating back to January 2011, searchable by city, state, name of the hospital and key word.  Previously, these reports were filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), and released only through a Freedom of Information Act request, an arduous, time-consuming process.  Even then, the reports were provided in paper format only, making them cumbersome to analyze.

Release of this critical electronic information by CMS is the result of years of advocacy by the Association of Health Care Journalists, with funding from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.  The new database makes full inspection reports for acute care hospitals and rural critical access hospitals instantly available to journalists and consumers interested in the quality of their local hospitals.

The database also reveals national trends in hospital errors. For example, key word searches yield the incidence of certain violations across all hospitals.  A search on the word “abuse,” for example, yields 862 violations at 204 hospitals since 2011. …

 

 

March 20, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, health AND statistics, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nurses’ Assessment of Hospital Quality Often On the Button

 

From the 8 October 2012 article at Science Daily

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing affirms a straightforward premise: Nurses are accurate barometers of hospital quality.

Perceptions from nurses — the healthcare providers most familiar with the patient experience — about hospital quality of care closely matches the quality indicated by patient outcomes and other long-standing measurements.

“For a complete picture of hospital performance, data from nurses is essential,” said lead author Matthew D. McHugh, a public health policy expert at Penn Nursing. “Their assessments of quality are built on more than an isolated encounter or single process — they are developed over time through a series of interactions and direct observations of care.”

Nurse-reported quality accurately correlated with outcome measures including death and life-threatening post-surgical complications, and patients’ reports of the care experience, wrote Dr. McHugh…

 

 

October 10, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hospital readmission rates linked to availability of care, socioeconomics

From the 11 May 2012 Eureka News Alert

American Heart Association meeting report – Abstract 12

Differences in regional hospital readmission rates for heart failure are more closely tied to the availability of care and socioeconomics than to hospital performance or patients’ degree of illness, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care & Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2012.

U.S. regional readmission rates for heart failure vary widely ― from 10 percent to 32 percent ― researchers found. Communities with higher rates were likely to have more physicians and hospital beds and their populations were likely to be poor, black and relatively sicker. People 65 and older are also readmitted more frequently.

To cut costs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to penalize hospitals with higher readmission rates related to heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia. Next year, hospitals with higher-than-average 30-day readmission rates will face reductions in Medicare payments.

But the penalties don’t address the supply and societal influences that can increase readmission rates, said Karen E. Joynt, M.D., lead author of the study and an instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass….

May 14, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hospital readmission rates misleading

Hospital readmission rates misleading

From the Healthcare Informatics blog item

Readmission rates, for instance, do not take into account the complexity of correcting problems involving the spine, which often call for two or more staged surgeries spaced out over several weeks, says Mummaneni. Publicly reported readmission rates do not always take into account scheduled follow-up surgeries and unplanned hospital readmissions, causing the calculated rates to be over-estimated. Additionally, he said, this problem may present surgeons with a tough choice between scheduling multiple surgeries, which may be better for the patients, and scheduling single surgeries, which would improve readmission rate calculations.

A US Navy general surgeon and an operating roo...

A US Navy general surgeon and an operating room nurse discuss proper procedures while performing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

April 24, 2012 Posted by | health AND statistics, health care | , , , | Leave a comment

To Gauge Hospital Quality, Patients Deserve More Outcome Measures One Comment

From the 15 February 2012 Health Care Blog item

Patients, providers and the public have much to celebrate. This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare websiteadded central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units to its list of publicly reported quality of care measures for individual hospitals.

Why is this so important? There is universal support for the idea that the U.S. health care system should pay for value rather than volume, for the results we achieve rather than efforts we make. Health care needs outcome measures for the thousands of procedures and diagnoses that patients encounter. Yet we have few such measures and instead must gauge quality by looking to other public data, such as process of care measures (whether patients received therapies shown to improve outcomes) and results of patient surveys rating their hospital experiences….

Related Resources

 

 

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death rate measure used to judge hospital quality may be misleading

From the 3 January 2012 press release

Hospitals, health insurers and patients often rely on patient death rates in hospitals to compare hospital quality. Now a new study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine questions the accuracy of that widely used approach and supports measuring patient deaths over a period of 30 days from admission even after they have left the hospital….

…The study compared two widely used approaches to assessing hospital quality. One approach uses mortality rates of patients who die during their initial hospitalization, and the other uses rates of patients who die within 30 days, whether or not they have been discharged.

Drye and colleagues focused on mortality rates for patients with heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. For these conditions, one-third to one-half of deaths within 30 days occur after the patient leaves the hospital, but this proportion often varies by hospital.

“We were concerned that only counting deaths during the initial hospitalization can be misleading,” said Drye. “Because some hospitals keep their patients for less time than others due to patient transfers to other facilities or because they send patients home more quickly.”

Drye and her colleagues found that quality at many U.S. hospitals looked quite different using the two different accounting methods.

The team also found that measures looking only at deaths in the hospital favor hospitals that keep their patients for a shorter length of time.

“To assess current and future patient management strategies,” said Drye. “We should assess all patients for a standard time period, such as 30 days.”…

Citation: Annals of Internal Medicine 156:19-26. (January 3, 2012)

Read entire press release

January 5, 2012 Posted by | health AND statistics | , | Leave a comment

Doctor Rating Web Site Health Grades is a Time Magazine “Best 50″ – How Trustworthy Is the Content??

HealthGrades Logo / Guiding Americans to their Best Health

HealthGrades has been rating doctors, dentists, and hospitals on five star scales for over ten years. Ratings include communication skills, time spent, trust, and office environment. There are also links to board sanctions.

This past August Time Magazine rated Health Grades as one of the 50 best Websites of 2011.

Recently there was a lively discussion on this topic at the medical librarian listserv (Medlib-L).
Among the responses…

  • Two people noted contact information for their doctors was not correct
  • “The self selection process creates a huge bias. The people who are angry and disappointed are the ones motivated to write.”
  • “patient rating is 4.5 stars out of 5, but he’s only had 4 patients comment on him. In skimming through other doctors in Fargo, very few have more than 4 patient comments and everyone has between 4 and 5 stars.”
  • “My doctor is in private solo practice and when you look at the lists by highlighted or popularity they are very institutionally presented. The independents come at the end of the list so this is not a fair representation”
  • “the physician she replaced upon his retirement in April 2008 is still listed (with one review), although he has been gone for almost 4 years”

Although these comments do not compromise an in depth critique of Health Grades they do raise questions about its currency, contact information correctness, and basis of comparison (basically unsolicited input from patients). It would be wise to use Health Grades in conjunction with other sources of information to make good decisions on choosing or evaluating a doctor, dentist, or hospital.

Some additional sources of information

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , , , , | Leave a comment

Your consumer powers when choosing a hospital

From an August posting by at KevinMD.com

The casual attitude people demonstrate when choosing doctors incurs a steep price. Let’s direct our attention to your consumer powers when choosing a hospital.

The imperative ‘caveat emptor’ (let the buyer beware) carries the most consequence when you purchase health care. When it comes to hiring a hospital’s services, it’s more caveat empty than caveat emptor.

 

It’s time to impart the same lessons for hospitals as we did for doctors. All hospitals are not the same. Each is its own unique brand. We, a nation of shoppers, are obsessed with brand names that tout their distinctiveness. In reality, most consumer products in any given category are all but indistinguishable from each other.  We think we can see the smallest pixel a human brain can process on a video display. We taste the figs and peaches in a $9 bottle of wine. We claim the sensory hyper-acuity possessed by dogs, dolphins and nocturnal predators….

Read the article

 Resources for comparing hospitals

 

 

 

August 28, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | | Leave a comment

CMS Launches Tools and Initiatives to Help Improve American Health Care Quality

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new tool for patients and caregivers, and other enhanced initiatives, to empower consumers to make informed choices about their health care, and to help improve the quality of care in America’s hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices, and other health care settings.

From the  5 August 2011 press release

“These tools are new ways CMS is making sure consumers have information about health care quality and important information they need to make the best decisions about where to receive high-quality care,” said Dr. Don Berwick, the CMS Administrator.  “These efforts are designed to also encourage providers to deliver safe, patient-centered care that consumers can rely on and will motivate improvement across our health care system.”

The steps announced today include:

·       A Quality Care Finder to provide consumers with one online destination to access all of Medicare’s Compare tools — comparison information on hospitals, nursing homes and plans: www.Medicare.gov/QualityCareFinder.

·       An updated Hospital Compare website, which now includes data about how well hospitals protect outpatients from surgical infections and whether hospitals care for outpatients who are treated for  suspected heart attacks with proven therapies that reduce death: www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov

Read the entire press release 

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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