I recently discussed my thoughts on health policy issues the new president should address with my alma mater, the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine, for its alumni newsletter. I talked about health insurance, budget needs for federal health programs and the possible reorganization of the Department of Health and Human Services. To read the Fall 2008 issue, click here.
Improving safety and quality of care for our patients is usually difficult work that often goes unsung. That is why I was so excited to see our hospitals named among the 41 top hospitals in the U.S. for safety and quality for the second year running.
This recognition from The Leapfrog Group, a leading national health care quality organization, is evidence that we continue to make tremendous progress in our safety and quality efforts. Our hard work in improving the quality of care at UNC is getting attention and truly making a difference.
In awarding us this honor, Leapfrog certifies that we are meeting its highest quality standards, which evolve each year to keep pace with important advancements like electronic medical records and computerized physician order entry. We are ahead of the curve and that's where I plan for us to stay. In fact, we were the only hospital in the Carolinas to make Leapfrog's 2007 list after more stringent quality measures were added to this year's survey.
The recognition is great. It feels even better seeing the company we keep among those recognized with this award. My thanks go to the entire UNC Health Care team for their hard work to improve continuously the quality and safety of care for our patients.
To read more about Leapfrog's Top Hospitals Award, please click here.
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.
I had the great privilege of giving an address to our medical staff at their semiannual meeting last Wednesday, and wanted to post my remarks here to share them even more broadly.
Several hundred UNC Health Care doctors and medical staff attended the meeting. It was a pleasure to meet many of them to discuss what was on their minds and how we can continue to improve the patient experience at our hospitals and clinics.
Click on the “More” below to read my speech in its entirety.
About two years ago, we placed an increased emphasis on quality at UNC Health Care, and the results of those efforts are becoming more and more apparent to the third party organizations that evaluate us.
Last week UNC Health Care's hospitals were named among the 50 best in the United States, based on results from the Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey. This recognition by Leapfrog is yet another telling benchmark that indicates we are moving in the right direction. Close attention to the quality of health care our patients and their families receive is at the heart of everything we do here.
This week marks a milestone in saving the lives of hospital patients who 18 months ago would have died from preventable medical errors. 122,342 people nationally with 2,500 from North Carolina can be very thankful for the efforts of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's campaign to save 100,000 lives.
We are now seeing the largest mumps outbreak in the U.S. in the past 20 years. As of May 2, there were 2,597 reported cases, with the largest number in Iowa, where the outbreak began on a college campus. The rest of the cases are in the surrounding Midwestern states. The outbreak has not reached North Carolina yet, but in a mobile community where people do travel, it certainly could.