The above is the headline from an April 7, 2013 article on Fosters.com of the Fosters Daily Democrat from Oregon. The article notes that hospitals are now starting to post mistakes online in an effort to improve patient safety.
The article notes that for the first time, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has released inspection reports for hospitals nationwide from the past two years. The release of these reports was in response to a request by the Association of Health Care Journalists, who has placed these reports onto a publicly searchable database.
According to the article, in Oregon alone, the database shows that, since January 2011, inspectors have found at least 82 violations. “We take every one of these seriously,” said Cheryl Nester Wolfe, Salem hospital’s chief operating officer. “It’s a good opportunity to examine our system and figure out where we can make improvements.”
An article in The Boston Globe dated April 09, 2013, about hospital safety specifically at Brigham and Women’s Hospital notes that the hospital publishes a newsletter that openly talks about errors made at the hospital. The newsletter, “Safety Matters” is not available to the general public, but copies are delivered to the newspapers such as the Boston Globe.
“Open-faced transparency is really valuable to staff at an institution because it causes them to know themselves better,” said Paul O’Neill, a member of the Lucian Leape Institute at the National Patient Safety Foundation, a nonprofit research organization based in Boston. But few, if any, other hospitals are doing anything like what the Brigham does, he said: “Unfortunately, I would say it’s highly unusual.”
On the Portland TV news station website KGW.com, on April 3, 2013 Jason McNichol, president of Health Advocacy Solutions commented on some of the additional benefits of having hospitals publish errors online by stating, “It also gives hospitals an incentive to do the right thing because the more accountability and transparency there is, the more incentive there is for hospitals to clean up mistakes and problems when they see them.