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Quality leaders grow in influence

Patient-safety and quality-improvement leaders figure prominently on this year's 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare. Their work is gaining more prominence as healthcare providers strive to prove their value to consumers, said Margaret “Peggy” O'Kane, president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance.


“The quality agenda is front and center now,” said O'Kane, No. 55 on this year's list. “When I started my career in quality, the quality people were in the doublewide trailer behind the hospital.”

Other quality and safety advocates on this year's ranking include: Richard Kronick, director of HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, No. 23; Dr. Christine Cassel, CEO of the National Quality Forum, No. 25; Dr. Tejal Gandhi, president, National Patient Safety Foundation, No. 49; Maureen Bisognano, CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, No. 50; Dr. Peter Pronovost, director, Johns Hopkins Medicine's Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, No. 52; Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group; No. 74; Dr. Mark Chassin, president of the Joint Commission, No. 82; and Dr. Robert Wachter, chief of hospital medicine at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, No. 83.


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Pronovost said this reflects how quality and safety are being tied to reimbursement, as well as a major change in providers' attitudes. Providers previously were told some patient harm is inevitable in delivering care, he said. “Today they're told, 'Harm is preventable and I can do something about it.' ”

O'Kane said health information technology is not yet living up to its quality improvement promise. “We're all kind of disappointed that the measurement data we thought would be flowing out of the electronic medical record has not,” she said.


On the other hand, she said, the advancement of the patient-centered medical home model of coordinated care has been “one of the most rewarding and challenging projects” the NCQA has taken on. But, she added, it's “incredibly obvious that we're not at the point we need to be.”

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks


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