Latest Hospital Safety Ratings Report Reveal Shocking Results

The recent release of individual safety ratings for several hospitals across the United States raise further evidence of both the possible risks that can occur while receiving healthcare, as well as the achievements of several institutions. Included in such reports were over 1,150 hospitals in 44 different states. While the majority of such institutions scored below 50% on measures of safety, the most common area of failure related to communication. Nearly half of the involved facilities reported the lowest possible score for communication related to medication safety and plans for patient transition post-hospitalization. This finding really resonated with me, as one of the biggest things I try to stress while promoting patient safety is communication.

It is important to remember that many healthcare professionals are often very busy, given the overall climate of the field. This shouldn’t, however, be an excuse for patients to overlook the importance of talking to their doctors about any questions they may have regarding their health, medication, diagnosis, or anything related to gaining a better understanding of their current state. Even when your healthcare providers may appear to be in a rush, don’t hesitate to ask questions; doing so will not only make their job easier in the long run, but also promote your health and safety. Improving patient safety is an undertaking that can only be successful when all involved parties make an effort towards the common goal.

Like every patient, healthcare professionals are only human. Through cooperation and understanding, we have the power to make healthcare safer and more efficient. It really is as simple as that.

The most important thing is that people need to care. Far too often, we allow symptoms to progress before seeking medical help. We need to be more proactive—aiming toward preventing disease before it occurs. Now, I know it isn’t always easy to talk about certain health concerns. There are a number of different things that may cause us to feel embarrassed, but let’s be honest, not only has your doctor seen and heard the same thing before, but a little embarrassment is a small price to pay in order to avoid serious illness and even death.

It’s also important to discuss the importance of finding a doctor that you feel comfortable with. Just as in any other field, different personalities sometimes just don’t mix. If you think this could be a factor in your reluctance to communicate with your healthcare provider, strongly consider exploring other options.

In a society that is so focused on the consumer, and on getting the most for your money, it’s ironic that few people actually stop to consider the quality of care they are receiving for all the money that they are spending on health insurance and other related expenses. This is especially true in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the majority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If you have no choice but to spend your hard-earned money on health insurance, then shouldn’t you be more concerned about how that money is being spent?

We’re definitely at a critical turning point in the United States’ healthcare system. We have the power to work together as patients and medical professionals to make improvements that will not only make receiving healthcare more efficient, but more importantly save lives.

References:

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20120705/NEWS/120709996/consumer-reports-releases-hospital-safety-ratings#

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