Two recent stories in Modern Healthcare highlight the continued pressure providers face on patient safety and outcomes. The Hospital Quality Alliance will be publishing hospital mortality rates later this month on this Health & Human Services web site. From the story:

In March 1986, the Health Care Financing Administration, as the CMS was
then known, first released death rates for hospitals based on data from
1984. At the time, the media referred to the information simply as "the
death list," and many hospital executives contended the raw data could
mislead patients. This time around, federal officials and healthcare
quality experts are hoping the refined mortality data release will be
better received than previous efforts.

This month the CMS will post 30-day, post-admission mortality rates for
heart attack and heart failure of patients for more than 4,000
hospitals that are Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. Nancy
Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety at the American
Hospital Association, a member of the Hospital Quality Alliance, said
unlike most information on the Hospital Compare site, the data are
strictly for Medicare payments. The CMS said only Medicare—using its
claims database that reflects care to the Medicare fee-for-service
population—has sufficient national data to meaningfully assess outcomes
for patients who suffer from acute myocardial infarctions and heart

Also in Modern Healthcare is this story on AHRQ's publication of sample quality report cards.

The federally funded Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a Health Care Report Card Compendium,
a new Web-based directory of more than 200 sample approaches to
preparing quality report cards for use by hospitals, health plans,
medical groups, solo physician practices and nursing homes.

“The demand for information about healthcare quality is rising rapidly,
and it will be increasingly important for this information to be
presented clearly and effectively,” AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy said
in a news statement. “Report card developers can use the examples from
the Health Care Report Card Compendium to explore the scope and
information they might want to cover, as well as various approaches to
presenting their own organization's comparative data.”

You can visit the compendium page here. While everyone in health care is in it to save lives, the industry as a whole embodies certain character flaws that cause us to resist change - even when it's the right thing to do. But between withholding reimbursement for preventable adverse event and publicly available patient safety and outcomes data, those that change will thrive and those that don't will fail - and rightfully so.