The culture of health-care secrecy harms patients

by Tom Emerick

First posted on Cracking Health Costs on 01/02/2013

Tom Emerick, Host of Cracking health Care Costs

“The culture of health-care secrecy harms patients” reads the headline of an OP-ed in the Seattle Times.  The author is Kathleen Bartholomew, a consultant and co-author of the book, “Charting the Course: Launching Patient-Centric Healthcare”.  

Kathleen writes, “Despite nearly universal effort and education, there has been little improvement in patient safety since the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report “To Err is Human.” More than 22 patients still die every hour in our hospitals from medical mistakes and unnecessary infections that absolutely could have been prevented. The details of most lethal mistakes will never make headlines.

She describes a culture of secrecy that pervades hospitals, one that is harmful to patients.  The culture she describes is  “…designed primarily for self-protection and not patient safety.”  Click here to read the full article.

Nurses in hospitals know the doctors who make the most mistakes and the ones most likely to harm patients, however, “Such knowledge is top secret.”  A huge problem is the inability to differentiate between honest human errors and negligence.

Part of the solution is to demand transparency at all levels.

Tom Emerick

Coming soon:  Cracking Health Costs, the book, to be published by John Wiley & Sons.  The authors are myself and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting, LLC, and Partner and Chief Strategy Officer with Laurus Strategies, a Chicago-based consulting firm.  Prior to starting his consulting career, Tom was with Walmart Stores, where his last position was Vice President, Global Benefit Design, which involved designing and managing benefits for over 1.3 million employees in the U.S., and 300,000 plus in international. For about six years, Tom also headed up Walmart’s Six Sigma and process improvement initiatives. Prior to Walmart, Tom had positions with Burger King Corporation, British Petroleum, and American Fidelity Assurance Company. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in health care the US for his work on medical ethics.

 

Patricia Salber MD, MBA (@docweighsin)
Patricia Salber, MD, MBA is the founder and host of The Doctor Weighs In. She is also the CEO of Health Tech Hatch, the sister site of TDWI that helps innovators tell their stories to the world. She is also a physician executive who has worked in all aspects of healthcare including practicing emergency physician, health plan executive, consultant to employers, CMS, and other organizations. She is a Board Certified Internist and Emergency Physician who loves to write about just about anything that has to do with healthcare.

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