Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Enthusiastic transparency

The State of Washington posts a variety of information about hospital infection rates. The latest addition to this is the publication of surgical infection rates. The website provides data on infections following three important types of surgeries: cardiac, orthopaedic, and hysterectomies. The Washington State Legislature required the data to be collected and made public in House Bill 1106 in 2007 and House Bill 2828 in 2010. Here is a section of the press release from the Washington State Hospital Association:

“Washington’s hospitals are enthusiastic participants in providing this new information about surgical infection rates,” said Carol Wagner, vice president for patient safety at the Washington State Hospital Association. “We believe that public reporting helps hospitals improve, assists consumers in making good decisions about hospital care, and creates collaboration between hospitals and quality experts.”

“Hospitals are dedicated to the care and comfort of our patients. In most cases, the data show good results, though there are also areas for improvement. Our member hospitals are working hard to implement changes to stop surgical infections, and we expect the results to get better and better,” concluded Wagner.

Washington State’s infection reporting program is considered a national leader. The National Conference of State Legislatures highlighted Washington, along with nine other states, in its recent
report, "Lessons from the Pioneers: Reporting Healthcare-Associated Infections."

Note, too, the publication of central line infection rates and ventilator pneumonia infections.

I like the sound of that: enthusiastic participants. Congratulations to the WSHA for their part in helping bring this about and to the Washington legislature for their leadership.

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