Superbugs, Medical Errors and Safety Rankings in Hospital Medicine News

SHM & Hospital Medicine in the News: May 12 – 26, 2016

This issue of SHM & Hospital Medicine in the News features:

  • The first case of a superbug in the U.S. that is resistant to antibiotics of last resort
  • Suggestions to reduce the number of medical error-related deaths in hospitals, including work performed by SHM member Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD
  • The possible lack of usefulness of hospital report cards and safety rankings to consumers
  • Physicians’ lack of comprehension of medical costs that affect their daily practice
  • The growing trend of healthcare providers and payers working together amicably after many years of adversarial relationships
  • A recent blog post from Dr. Brett Hendel-Paterson on The Hospital Leader blog that was republished by Medscape


The Superbug that Doctors Have Been Dreading Just Reached the U.S.

For the first time, researchers have found a person in the United States carrying bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort, an alarming development that the top U.S. public health official says could mean “the end of the road” for antibiotics. The antibiotic-resistant strain was found last month in the urine of a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman. Defense Department researchers determined that she carried a strain of E. coli resistant to the antibiotic colistin, according to a study published Thursday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology. The authors wrote that the discovery “heralds the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria.”

May 26, 2016
The Washington Post
Click here for the full story.


How to Make Hospitals Less Deadly

Medical error kills between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans each year. Only heart disease and cancer have a higher body count. Some progress has been made: The number of hospital-acquired conditions dropped 17% from 2010-14, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. But that report excluded diagnostic errors that occur in outpatient settings—such as missing a cancerous lesion—and cause some 100,000 deaths per year. Many of medicine’s best and brightest have produced great ideas to fight medical error. A few years ago, Johns Hopkins anesthesiologist Peter Pronovost slashed rates of central line and ventilator infections with simplified protocols. 

May 18, 2016
The Wall Street Journal
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Hospital Safety Rankings May Not Provide Useful Data to Consumers, Study Finds

Patients who look to publicly available score cards to assess their hospital’s safety record may not be getting an accurate picture of the quality of care, according to new research from Johns Hopkins’ Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. Hospitals have complained for years that the criteria used by U.S. News & World Report, Leapfrog, federal health authorities and others are so varied that results can confuse consumers. An analysis Hopkins researchers conducted last year of popular rating systems seemed to bolster that view when it found no hospital ranked as a high performer in each because of their varying criteria.

May 16, 2016
The Baltimore Sun
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Most Physicians Do Not Understand Medical Costs, Study Finds

Most physicians agree they have a responsibility to control costs, but more than a third don’t know how much tests and procedures costs, and about one in three physicians say they do not consider costs while making medical decisions, according to a recent study from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. 

May 18, 2016
Becker’s Hospital Review
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How Payers and Healthcare Providers Are Making Peace

Despite a legacy of mistrust, leading organizations are working together and building trust by using benchmarking, bundling and aligning their interests. After decades of fee-for-service-fueled adversarial relations, healthcare providers and payers are learning how to work together cooperatively. One blooming partnership between a prominent payer and physician groups is rooted in New Jersey.

May 24, 2016
Health Leaders Media
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Finding Hope Where There Is None

Young and in pain, she came to us from another country for a repair of a fracture. It wasn’t repaired at home because of the complexity of the fracture. There was some question that it may be a pathologic fracture due to a cancer, but nothing definitive. There were two biopsies in-country. One that was equivocal, one that said it was “consistent with” cancer. Our charge was to fix her fracture and diagnose her cancer. I was to medically optimize her for surgery. She did not believe the doctors in her home country who told her she had cancer.

May 24, 2016
Medscape (Originally published on The Hospital Leader blog)
Click here for the full story. 

Brett Radler is the Communications Specialist at the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM). He is responsible for managing the day-to-day social media engagement across SHM’s social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, and assists in the management of SHM’s blog, The Hospital Leader. In addition to his social media roles, Brett develops content for SHM’s monthly newsmagazine, The Hospitalist, and monitors media coverage relevant to the hospital medicine movement.

Brett holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and also serves as on-air talent at a New Jersey radio station in his spare time.

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