The Department of Public Health is releasing, at the Public Health Council meeting tomorrow (April 8, 2009), a hospital-specific report of the Serious Reportable Events that were submitted by hospitals to the Department in Calendar Year 2008, as well as aggregate data on hospital acquired infections from reporting which began in July 2008. Hospitals had the opportunity to provide comments related to their Serious Reportable Events which the Department is making available to the public. Hospitals may provide or update their comments by April 15th for the next upload of this information to the MA Department of Public Health website. When the link to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website is ready, it will be sent to you and posted on the MA Coalition website.
Below is information you may find useful when communicating with your patients and families or other organizations about the importance of this report. Questions were adapted from the Consumer Guide to Adverse Health Events in Minnesota, January 2008 which may be viewed at http://www.health.state.mn.us/patientsafety/publications/consumerguide.pdf.
Why does this report matter to patients and families?
This information is important for patients and their families seeking medical care because everyone wants to know that they will get the very best care. Serious adverse events are rare and the odds of them happening to you are very small. It is still good to know about them and where they’ve happened. This information can be used to ask hospitals what they are doing to prevent these adverse events from happening again.
How is this making health care safer?
It is not useful to compare hospitals using these numbers. You might see more events at one facility because it is working hard to find problems and fix them. A bigger number might mean that a facility is safer. Additionally, the more procedures a hospital performs the more adverse events may be reported based on sheer volume, but, the rate of events is the same as a hospital with fewer reported adverse events. What’s most important is what each hospital is learning about why these events happened. Learning what caused the events is the only way to keep them from happening again. Hospitals are making changes in how they provide care and this will make health care safer for all patients.