A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Health Care Quality

First PFAC Conference a Success

Patient and Family Advisory Councils, or PFACs, are changing the way we experience care at our local hospitals, and also at some outpatient care centers. PFACs allow patients and family members to represent the consumer voice in health care, operating as a crucial link between patients and hospital administration, providing suggestions on making the patient experience more comfortable and less confusing. All acute-care and rehabilitation hospitals in Massachusetts have been required to have PFACs in place since October of 2010. On May 17th, Health Care For All brought together... Read more »

People With Disabilities And Others: Please Fill Out This Survey From Mass DPH

[From Mass DPH:] Help influence health care in Massachusetts. The Health and Disability Program, part of Office of Health Equity at the MA Department of Public Health (DPH) is conducting a health needs survey for people with disabilities in Massachusetts. The Office of Health Equity promotes the health and well being of minority populations, including people with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth. Results from the survey will be used to determine how best to address the current public health needs of the disability community. Read more »

Hour Limits on Interns May Have Unintended Consequences

No one wants an exhausted doctor making decisions about their health. That’s why the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which is charged with accrediting American medical residency programs, has continued to take steps to limit the time doctors in training spend on the clock. The most recent restrictions, established in 2011, target interns, limiting their work day to no more than 16 hours. It’s a common sense solution to a justified anxiety about fatigued doctors. Read more »

This is Scary: MRSA Transmission From Animals To Us

A recent study has confirmed that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is being transmitted from animals to people (NY Times story, and NPR story). While this has long been suspected, the University of Cambridge study uncovered more concrete evidence by studying cases of MRSA in Denmark – a country where a generally low incidence of MRSA means sources for exposure are lower than in the rest of the world. Geneticists were able to compare MRSA samples from both patients and the infected livestock they owned, and discovered a similarity in the genes of the bacteria indicating... Read more »

SQAC Prioritizes Patient-Centered Care and Behavioral Health

The Statewide Quality Advisory Committee met Monday and discussed priorities for the coming year as they prepare to solicit nominations for measures to be considered for the Statewide Quality Measure Set and as they consider experts they would like to bring in to meet with the group.  The SQAC members came to consensus on the need to prioritize patient-centered care and to have a particular focus on behavioral health and coordination of care. The group agreed that behavioral health is an area where there is the potential for the greatest improvement in quality of care and patient-centeredness... Read more »

Changing the Culture of Silence

Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been leading the way in transparency around medical errors, as a recent Boston Globe article reports.  The article details the implementation of an initiative to inform hospital staff about mistakes made in the hospital via a newsletter, distributed to the hospital’s 16,000 employees.  Issues of the newsletter include anonymous interviews with both patients and doctors concerning the issue, as well as information about recourse after these incidents. Read more »

Nominate a Compassionate Caregiver

Anyone who has spent time in a hospital knows how much of a difference compassion and support from caregivers can make. Ken Schwartz, a Boston healthcare attorney who died at 40 after a struggle with lung cancer, believed in the central importance of compassionate caregivers, identifying their care as what made “the unbearable bearable.” Schwartz founded the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare in 1995 to ensure that such care remained a critical part of the healthcare system. Read more »

Patient Safety Week Guest Blog 4: Be Very Afraid, Then Do Something About it

Our fourth Patient Safety Week guest post is by Paula Griswold, Executive Director, MA Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors: We should all be very worried about whether there will be continued improvements in patient safety. Then we should all take action and make sure there are. I became very afraid when I read Dr. Robert Wachter’s excellent blog post “Is the Patient Safety Movement in Critical Condition?” This expert and commentator on patient safety wrote: “…. I’ve never been more worried about the (patient) safety movement than I am today. My fear is that we will look back on... Read more »

DVR Alert: "Escape Fire" - Searing Documentary on Our Failed Health Care System

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/27450676] Must see TV: The award-winning documentary Escape Fire will be broadcast on CNN this Sunday. The movie will air on Sunday night March 10th at 8:00pm on CNN. It will re-air at 11pm ET and again on March 16th. Set your DVR. From the producers: Read more »

Patient Safety Week Guest Blog 3: Communication, Apology, and Resolution (CARe) Advances in Massachusetts

Our third guest blog explains how patients can get better care by changes in the medical liability system. The post is by Alan Woodward MD, chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society's Committee on Professional Liability and a past MMS president, who was involved in the changes to state malpractice law contained in Chapter 224. Read more »


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