Patients in hospital ERs can wait hours for inpatient beds to open up. The delays can be maddening. A solution for this long-standing problem has been elusive in the U.S., despite progress elsewhere.
health care quality
A surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Gawande is probably best known for his work writing about how to improve quality and lower costs in health care.
The Affordable Care Act penalizes hospitals if patients are discharged and then readmitted with the same problems too often. That effort has improved care for patients, two researchers say.
The inspector general at Health and Human Services says Medicare should have done an in-depth review of suspicious reports from hospitals to keep them from covering up problems with infections.
Hospitals often shy away from offering quality assessments about skilled nursing care because of a Medicare requirement not to restrict choice. Federal officials are weighing changes to that rule.
Dr. Abraham Nussbaum, author of a book examining the drive toward standardized quality measures and checklists, says he fears medicine is becoming just another job and not the calling it should be.
If not for flawed classification of deaths, medical mistakes would be the third leading cause of U.S. deaths, Johns Hopkins researchers say. They're calling on the CDC to track deaths from errors.
Medicare's "overall hospital quality" rating aims to help consumers by boiling down a variety of measurements into a number star. But Congress asked the administration to hold off on the change.
Medicare compiles ratings of agencies' quality and of patients' perceptions. But the stars assigned by the government often don't align.