Sunday, March 27, 2011

Admitting harm protects patients - Sunday, March 27, 2011 | 2 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun

As Nevada legislators debate this week whether to require hospitals to publicly report when they harm patients, they could learn a lot from Paul Levy’s experience in pulling back the veil of hospital secrecy.

Levy became a revolutionary figure in medicine when, as CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess — then the weak sibling among Harvard University’s teaching hospitals — he began blogging about injuries and infections suffered by his hospital’s patients. His competitors eventually followed suit and now, with Massachusetts law imposing transparency, they acknowledge openness has brought greater accountability and a more focused commitment to protecting patients.

“It’s not just fear of public embarrassment” that drives the improvements, said Dr. Ken Sands, chairman of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s health care quality department. “It’s an easy way to show something is a priority and is deserving of attention.”

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