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E-patients, this is a call to action. Now. I want you to go express yourself on Paul Levy’s blog.

Most readers of health policy blogs know what a costly, inefficient mess healthcare in America has become. Paul Levy would like the people in his business to work together to fix that. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Last month he proposed that all the hospitals in the area band together to share information about how to solve problems like hospital-acquired infections. (He’s already been posting his own hospital’s failure rates on their web site, for people to monitor as they work to improve it.) And on 12/21 he proposed that hospitals not only share data, but work together to figure out how to prevent problems, so you and I don’t have as much chance of being harmed during our stay in all their hospitals:

What if all of the hospitals in the Boston metropolitan area — academic medical centers and community hospitals — decided as a group to eliminate certain kinds of hospital-acquired infections and other kinds of preventable harm?

And what response has he gotten? NOTHING. From his post today:

Look at the non-response to my challenge to all the Massachusetts hospitals on this matter a few weeks ago. I don’t think I am being egotistical to expect at least one hospital administrator or someone from the state hospital association to contact me and say, “Yes, let’s try it.” Or even have one of them say, “That’s a dumb idea.” No, the response is silence.

The subject today was the big national news story about how using checklists reduces medical harm. (He has links to it.)

To ordinary citizens it’s obvious that checklists make sense, but many doctors are acting like it’s some weird controversial idea, or maybe just some fad.

The thing that really irks me is that in the comments, it seems like almost the whole medical establishment is saying “But I don’t WANNNA do it different. It’s too HAARRRD.” Here we have clear evidence that checklists reduce harm, but these intelligent people seem to be whining “But they were mean to us when we were in med school. We LEARNED to hide our mistakes. It’s not our fault” or “It’s too HARD to change culture.”

Well, it’s not. Charlie Kenney of Cincinnati Children’s (another exemplary hospital) commented about how they’ve made the change, and he names names of his people who were brave enough to put patients first. (Ya think??)

There is not enough patient voice on that discussion. One other blogger patient besides me, the famous Pregnant Stephanie, said “Bring on the check lists!” And that’s where you come in.

Go torch that thread. Set the place on fire, burn it down. Go say what YOU think about whether hospitals should adopt checklists. Tell the doctors and administrators to listen. And ask ’em what the blazes they’re talking about when THEY don’t put patients first.

Click here to read the post and its comments, and add your voice. And yes, let’s get radical: DEMAND that they put patients first. Click here. Really.


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