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VHIG Digest: Vol. 3, No. 2

Posted by on Monday, September 5, 2011 in Digest.

This Week’s Top 3 Stories in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement in Healthcare

By Natalie Ausborn, School of Medicine, Class of 2013

1. Handwashing signs emphasizing patient versus provider safety improves compliance – 8/29/11

A two-week study by Adam Grant, a psychological scientist at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and David Hofmann, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, posted two variations of a handwashing sign above soap and hand sanitizer dispensers. One stated, “Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases,” and the other stated, “Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases.” The “patient” sign increased soap and sanitizer use by 33%, and healthcare providers were 10% more likely to wash their hands. Grant credits “the illusion of invulnerability” as the reason behind switching the wording on the signs, recognizing most people feel they are not vulnerable themselves to getting sick, while their patients are.

2. Electronic Health Records and Quality of Diabetes Care – 9/1/11

An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine this month compared achievement of and improvement in quality standards for diabetes at facilities using electronic health records versus paper records. Covariates, including insurance type, patient race, age, sex, income and education were adjusted for. Care standards included measurement of hemoglobin A1c, urine microalbumin testing, eye examination, pneumococcal vaccination, and outcome standards included hemoglobin A1c <8%, BP <140/80 mmHg, LDL <100, BMI <30, and nonsmoking status. Sites utilizing electronic health records were associated with a higher achievement in eight of nine standards, greater improvement in care, and greater improvement in outcomes.

3. More hospital procedures => better patient safety? – 9/1/11

A new study in Health Services Research journal found hospital volume is inversely related to preventable adverse events. Stanford University School of Medicine researchers examined rates of nine adverse events in hospitalized patients and found that in almost every case, hospitals with higher surgical volume had fewer adverse events compared to hospitals with low volumes of surgery. Additionally, patients may consider hospital volume when choosing where to receive care, especially for high-risk procedures.