BLOGS: What’s a Blog?

The Boston Globe reports that other executives in town are
less than thrilled with Beth Israel Deconess CEO Paul Levy’s new blog, Running
a Hospital
. Levy has been blogging on industry issues for the past few months,
offering a rare glimpse at the decision-making process inside a major teaching hospital, posting on topics ranging from the size of his own salary ("Do I get paid too much?") to negotiations with labor organizers.

Recently, he took the unusual step of posting data Beth Israel’s monthly hospital acquired infection rates on his site and publicly
challenged his competitors at Mass General to do the same. Under Massachusetts law, hospitals are not yet required to make the information public – and most have hesitated to do so, fearing negative publicity. 

Picking up from the Globe’s report:

"There are some things that Boston hospital executives generally believe are
best kept quiet. Gripes about competitors are one. The rates of
hospital-acquired infections among patients are another, at least at this
point. Then came Paul Levy’s blog. In his blog, Levy also has needled Partners HealthCare, the parent
organization of Mass. General and Brigham and Women’s, about their formidable
market share of patients, saying they get paid more from insurers because of
their size." 

Partner’s CEO Dr. Peter Slavin responds in an interview on White Coat Notes, the Globe’s new health care blog, with the CEO’s PR department-blessed version of "Oh yeah, buddy? You and your ‘blog’ want to step outside?"

"There are at least two ways to compete in health care, provide great
care, do great research and excel at teaching — that’s the way we
choose to do it," Slavin said. "The other way is to criticize one’s
competitors. That’s not the method we choose to employ."


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2 replies »

  1. If Slavin’s hospital’s infection rates are lower than Levy’s, then why doesn’t he post them? Score one for Levy! As a former hospital-based physician, I find Levy’s blog interesting and provocative, at least in the month since I’ve been reading it. The hospital politics in Boston must be brutal, however; I thought Maryland was bad!

  2. He left out option 3: making inroads towards healthcare transparency. Obviously also a method they choose not to employ.