GAO report to Congress highlights patient safety data challenges


A report to Congress on patient safety by The Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights the difficulty that hospitals have in obtaining key data to help improve patient safety.

Specifically, it shows that they find it difficult to find data to identify adverse events within their institutions, existing best practices, priorities for patient safety practices, and how to ensure consistency in staff compliance with those practices.

The report also examines six payer organizations and their efforts to reduce preventable deaths and unnecessary medical expenditures through a combination of reimbursement and non-financial support to help hospitals improve patient safety.

“This report is an excellent beginning to a better understanding of the challenges our hospitals face to eliminate preventable deaths. The number of preventable deaths in hospitals has increased over the past decade. To reverse this heart-breaking trend, we need to better align incentives and reporting requirements so that hospitals can learn faster and implement better processes to provide safe and dignified care,” said Patient Safety Movement Founder Joe Kiani.

The Patient Safety Movement, through its interdisciplinary workgroups, has developed twelve Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS), which are rapidly-implementable best practices that will allow hospitals to meaningfully address the leading causes of preventable death.

“We have collaborated with leaders from the healthcare, medical technology, academic, patient advocacy, and public policy communities to develop our APSS that will solve the exact problems that this GAO report is highlighting,” said Kiani.

“This issue is not the absence of solutions, but a lack of transparency and measurement as to where the most pervasive problems in hospitals lie. Sunlight is the best antiseptic; I hope that Congress will use this report as a clear sign that we need more transparency in healthcare, otherwise we are going to continue to fund our ignorance with taxpayer dollars and human lives. Last month, Senator Whitehouse introduced the Patient Safety Improvement Act of 2016, which is a great step towards creating the transparency needed to improve patient safety. I hope that the Senate will include the bill in the legislative hearings it is holding over the next few months.”

Congress, Government Accountability Office, Patient Safety Movement, Joe Kiani, US