mednews-logo.300Improving the quality and safety of patient care is about taking action — taking precautions, communicating clearly and giving patients all of the information they need. Here’s a roundup of important healthcare quality and patient safety stories you may have missed but need to take a look at before calling it a week. (Sign up on the right if you’d like these news alerts delivered to you.)

  1. Going Beyond Hand Hygiene Compliance
    Chief Hospital Epidemiologist, Dr. Tom Talbot talks about how Vanderbilt University has “hardwired” its handwashing practices to maintain at least 90 percent compliance for the last four years.
  2. In medicine, we have murdered the story
    Once upon a time, a patient’s medical record revealed more than demographic data and check-box explanations for treatment decisions. One emergency physician makes a plea to his colleagues to make a conscious effort to start filling in the blanks within the EMR. “The absence of words doesn’t help anyone; least of all the patient,” he says. Whether by providing six words or three sentences, he suggests docs need to provide enough information to help the next clinician who sees the patient.
  3. The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records
    Mechanical engineering PhD candidate, Steven Keating jokingly says “the best place to get cancer is at MIT.” Read his fascinating survival story and consider the potential impact of empowering a society of more informed and engaged patients. Be sure to visit Keating’s website and click on the yellow “health” triangle  to watch his video titled “fighting cancer through curiosity.”
  4. How to Surgically Reduce Health-Care Costs
    According to Dr. Marty Makary, President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which aims to encourage personalized health care, has omitted a glaring opportunity to improve care quality and cut costs. Results of a new study conducted by Makary and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins support the theory that more frequent use of minimally invasive surgeries, which typically generate fewer complications, would mean fewer days spent in the hospital and millions of dollars saved annually nationwide.