The Stage 2 Meaningful Use of EHRs Final Rules: Still No Surprises but Important Steps Forward

Six months to the day after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the “preliminary rules” for Meaningful Use, the final rules are in.  For clinicians and policymakers who want to see Electronic Health Records (EHRs) play a key role in driving improvements in the healthcare system, there’s a lot to like here. For the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), the agency that oversees the federal health…

Profits, Quality, and U.S. Hospitals

The recent articles in the New York Times about the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) have once again raised important questions about the role of for-profit hospitals in the U.S. healthcare system.  For-profits make up about 20% of all hospitals and many of them are part of large chains (such as HCA). Critics of for-profit hospitals have argued that these institutions sacrifice good patient care in their search for better…

Hospital Rankings Get Serious

*Read accompanying posts from Leapfrog and Consumer Reports After years of breaking down, my sedan recently died.  Finding myself in the market for a new car, I did what most Americans would do – went to the web.  Reading reviews and checking rankings, it quickly became clear that each website emphasized something different: Some valued fuel-efficiency and reliability, while others made safety the primary concern.  Others clearly put a premium on…

Consumer Reports accompaniment to “Hospital Rankings Get Serious”

Guest post by John Santa, MD MPH, accompanying Hospital Rankings Get Serious Including Consumers In the Safety Journey For more than a decade, those in health care have known that serious safety problems were present in our health systems. Many of the country’s most prominent health care leaders have done their best to make safety improvement a priority. Patients and families have shared their stories, pleading for more attention to the…

Leapfrog accompaniment to “Hospital Rankings Get Serious”

Guest post by Leah Binder, accompanying Hospital Rankings Get Serious Here’s some stories from my summer reading list. In one story, a woman is stopped by security at the airport when the metal detector goes off. Security guards can find no cause for this and eventually let her board the flight. But this makes her wonder, so she calls her doctor. Later an X-Ray shows a metal retractor in her abdomen,…