Tuesday, March 24, 2009
At the ACHE
Jim Conway, Senior Vice President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, invited me to join him at the annual meeting of the American College of Healthcare Executives in Chicago. ACHE is an international professional society of more than 30,000 people who lead hospitals, health care systems, and other health care organizations. About 1300 showed up for our 7am session this morning, entitled "Transparency and Leadership in Quality and Safety Measures."
The pictures show some of the attendees, looking remarkably chipper given the early hour, from Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere. Also, there's Howard Horwitz, ACHE's education vice president. Finally, there are the labeled water glasses to prove that Jim and I were actually there: These guys are serious about infection control! (But it gave me a chance to joke that I did not see if the man who put on the labels had washed his hands.)
I always learn something when I hear Jim talk. The takeaway moment for me was when he displayed a chart showing survey results about the "top issues confronting hospital CEOs." In 2008, 43% percent of those surveyed indicated that patient safety and quality were among their top three concerns. This is an improvement from 2003, when the figure was only 26%. That's the glass-half-full interpretation.
Jim's interpretation, in contrast, is that 57% of the hospital CEOs surveyed did not have safety and quality in their top list of concerns. This is a major indictment of the health care system and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the concerns of a broad group of stakeholders -- patients, families, public interest advocacy groups, business leaders, governors, and legislators. I do not know if we were preaching to the choir today, or if we were able to make some converts.
Posted by Paul Levy at 3/24/2009 08:00:00 PM