Discussing the Quality of Care

Late last fall, I participated in a HealthLeaders roundtable discussion on the quality of health care with Dr. Donald M. Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Margaret O'Kane, president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance; and Mark Pickrell of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis. We talked about lessons learned and best practices for the future. I'm please to report that it looks promising.

Winston Churchill once said, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Our progress in quality and patient safety has made them legitimate, top-of-mind considerations to the leadership of operations in our hospitals and our clinics. We have begun changing the way we think about health care quality, but we have a challenging road ahead.

One of our guiding principles of the National Quality Forum, which I'm involved with, and Peggy and Don are as well, is to bring all relevant groups government, nonprofit, hospitals together to discuss health care quality, including consumers. I think we've made some real progress in that regard, but we still have to improve how we involve more consumers.

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