New York City’s public hospital system made history this month by becoming the first healthcare system in New York State to publicly reveal mortality rates and hospital-acquired infection rates as part of its new safety and quality performance web site "HHC In Focus." The bold move toward transparency has been a top priority for HHC President Alan D. Aviles and part of the corporation’s patient safety agenda.
"We want our patients to better understand our efforts to continually improve the quality of care provided in each of our facilities, and over time help patients make more informed decisions on accessing healthcare for themselves and their family members," said Aviles. "We are sharing data that shows whether we are providing effective and safe care, as well as some of the information we use internally to measure whether the care we provide meets the standards we would want for our own family members."
The new section on the HHC website, nyc.gov/hhc, also includes data on how often HHC hospitals follow best clinical practices in treating heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, and in preventing surgical infection. In addition, the public can find how well HHC’s nursing homes are doing in providing quality care; and how the public hospitals and nursing homes compare to state and national benchmarks on a number of important quality measures. The information includes data for the entire public hospital system, as well as data from specific hospitals and nursing homes.
"Measurable progress begins with understanding the true story of current performance. Transparency and honesty are not only essential for moving toward better health care, they are the first crucial steps," said Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a non-profit organization helping to catalyze improvement in healthcare in the U.S. and globally. "New York City's public hospital system is making a bold move by being so open with their patients and community. The courage to share information in this way can, and I think will, build trust and confidence in that system's commitment to the continual improvement of care. I hope that many other leaders and organizations in health care will follow their lead."
Four states now require public reporting of hospital-acquired infections and more states, including New York, have plans to require such public reporting in the not-too-distant future.
"We decided that sharing this information and other targeted quality and safety-related data was too important to wait for a mandate or law. We are posting this information now, voluntarily, because it is the right thing to do," Aviles said. "By making this information public, HHC is demonstrating our willingness to be held publicly accountable for the quality of our care and for our efforts to keep patients safe."