Hospitals across the country made significant improvements in how they care for patients suffering from heart attacks, heart failure or pneumonia, but quality experts warned that some states do better than others and urged hospitals to strive toward closing the quality gap.
A report released today in Washington by the Joint Commission, which tallied the data from 2002 to 2005, showed that hospitals now overwhelmingly provide smoking-cessation advice, give aspirin to heart attack patients at the time of arrival and provide screenings to pneumonia patients. For instance, 80% of patients with pneumonia now hear advice on quitting smoking, up from only 37% in 2002. Other areas of improvement could be found in the number of heart-failure patients who received discharge instructions, which rose to 59.2% from 30.9%, and the percentage of pneumonia patients who received pneumococcal vaccinations, which increased to 62.8% from 30.2%.
This is the kind of information that will truly create informed consumers who can ask good questions about their care and even become involved in hospital performance improvement processes, Joint Commission President Dennis OLeary said in a written statement.
The report showed that hospital compliance is lowest for a Joint Commission requirement calling for a timeout by the surgical team before surgery to confirm patient identity and correct procedure. -- by Matthew DoBias