05 Jul 2012

Straight A’s

05 Jul 2012

Growing up I had to get all A’s if I didn’t want to face my mother’s wrath on report card days, some of the longest days of my life. Where I went to school, we’d get our grades at the beginning of each period. You’d wait for your name to be called, then walk up to the teacher’s desk to have your grade entered in your report book and depending on your performance, you’d receive coaching. I don’t know why school administrators tried to make the grading process seem confidential, it’s not like everyone couldn’t tell your results based on the length of your coaching session. Failing students always took longer. Usually around fourth period, right after recess, was when my day would start going down hill. I’d get the dreaded B+ and have to start preparing to face my mother when I got home.

I don’t know if hospital administrators awaited their safety grades with the same feverish anticipation like I awaited mine, but their results are now available online for everyone to seeThe Leapfrog Group using a report card model, issued grades based on how well hospitals prevent errors that kill tens of thousands of patients each year. The report card is designed as a simple tool to help us choose where to get the best medical care. Assessments were based on up to 26 measures, including nurse staffing levels, processes for preventing infection and medication errors, and the rates of patient injuries, bloodstream infections, or surgical errors.

Nine hospitals in San Francisco were graded, with outcomes ranging from A for Kaiser Foundation Hospital on Geary Street to C for San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center on Potrero.

Here is a list of other San Francisco hospitals that received an A for patient safety:
• California Pacific Medical Center, 2333 Buchanan Street
• St. Francis Memorial Hospital of San Francisco, 900 Hyde Street
• UCSF Medical Center / Moffitt-Long Hospitals, 505 Parnassus Avenue

The Leapfrog Group said they will work with communities, employers, health plans, and hospitals to use the Hospital Safety Score to improve safety. Grades will be reissued using updated data in November, with an annual Hospital Safety Score to follow in 2013 and every year thereafter.

One of the most significant problems with today’s healthcare system is the failure to make safety and quality information available to the public, so that we can make more informed decisions about healthcare. I’m very grateful for the recent attempts at making healthcare more transparent. Long gone are the days where I’d sit holding my breath waiting for my grades, and hoping for the best. These days my mom just wants me to be happy and in good health, two goals that are becoming easier to accomplish as the healthcare industry continues to transform.

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