Your cover story on healthcare data systems and quality measures ("Quality measures hit prime time," May 5, p. 66) was an interesting and worthwhile review.
Buried in this, though, are some appalling anecdotes, including the decision of a healthcare system to violate well-established standards of care regarding central line infections. The study demonstrated what has already been known, and obviously a number of patients suffered as a consequence of the decision to try to save a few bucks. The same holds true of the increased use of bladder catheters in an academic medical center in the West.
These consequences were inevitable, could easily have been anticipated based on medical literature and were avoidable except for the tremendous pressure for cost savings.
If this is the future, it's a little grim. It's fortunate that the medical information systems picked up the obvious before it went on too long, but those mistakes should never have been made.
Roger A. Renfrew, M.D.
Redington Fairview General Hospital