What more do we need to know? The British Medical Journal published a study showing that Peter Pronovost's program to reduce central line infections in Michigan saved lives.
A new study finds that a safety checklist program developed by a Johns Hopkins doctor has reduced patient deaths in Michigan hospitals by 10 percent, in addition to nearly eliminating bloodstream infections in health care facilities that embraced the prevention effort.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, is the first to show a drop in patient mortality in hospitals using the Hopkins program. Previous studies have found major reductions in bloodstream infections from using the checklist when inserting catheters or central lines to give patients medication, fluids or nourishment.
Well, duh. But I guess it is important to have scientific verification. But I can almost hear the comments from some places: "That wouldn't work here. Our patients are sicker."
So, how long will it take for this approach to be used across the country? This study is based on work from nine years ago. If this is like other innovations in medical care, it will take a decade and a half more to spread.
Here's my proposal to jump-start it. Publish the monthly rate of central line infections for all hospitals on a public website. CMS, IHI, the Dartmouth Atlas group or some other organization could do this in a nano-second, creating a voluntary website, giving each hospital a password through which it could enter its own data. There is no need to audit the figures. We can trust people to be honest.
And, at the bottom of the website, the host could list the hospitals that have chosen NOT to publish.
Then, you would see the power of transparency.