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Time For Truth in Advertising in Quality Reporting

Posted Oct 30 2008 11:49am

Just a quick heads up re: an article that Peter Pronovost (the world's best patient safety researcher, in my judgment), Marlene Miller (both of Johns Hopkins) and I have in today's JAMA. In it, we argue that there is now suffficient skin in the quality game that the time has come for there to be a...

stronger environment to help protect patients, clinicians, and payers from misinformation regarding quality of care and to help ensure public trust in the health care profession.

We compare the Wild, Wild West of healthcare quality reports (have you ever seen a hospital report poor performance in an ad or on their website?) to financial and pharmaceutical industry reporting. In these industries, there are uniform standards for reporting, certification for those who report, methods for auditing performance data, and strong systems of accountability, all enforced by the SEC and FDA, respectively. None of this is present in today's healthcare reporting environment.

This article may not make any of us the most popular kids on the street, but we believe that – absent these kinds of structures and standards – the promise of quality measurement and transparency won't be realized, since the amount of gaming, selective reporting, and outright fibbing will make quality reports in-credible. Getting this right will be hard work, so we might as well get started now.

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