At the recent Health Care Quality Summit in Saskatoon, Sarah Patterson, the Virgina Mason Medical Center expert on Lean process improvement, noted, “I’d rather have no board rather than an out-of-date board. They have to be real.” She was referring to the PeopleLink Board that is placed is key locations in her hospital to provide real-time visual cues to front-line staff as to how they are doing in meeting quality, safety, work flow, and other metrics in the hospital.
Now comes the CDC, announcing in April 2012, that 21 states had significant decreases in central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2009 and 2010.
CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, said “CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network is a critical tool for states to do prevention work. Once a state knows where problems lie, it can better assist facilities in correcting the issue and protecting patients.”
I am trying to be positive when progress is made, and I am also trying to be respectful of our public officials — whom I know to be dedicated and well-intentioned — but does Dr. Frieden really believe that posting data from 2009 and 2010 has a whit of value in helping hospitals reduce their rate of infections?
Try to imagine how you as a clinical leader, a hospital administrator, a nurse, a doctor, a resident, or a member of the board of trustees would use such data. Answer: You cannot because there is not use whatsoever.
I am also perturbed by the CDC’s insistence on using a “standardized infection ratio” as opposed to a simple count of infections or rate of infections per thousand patient days.