Dr. Robert Wachter, chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, said there is growing attention to diagnostic errors, with the 2015 release of a National Academy of Medicine report on the issue. More emphasis will be placed on fixing the problem in the year ahead. Related to that is physician burnout. “Until we address this, the quality, safety and improvement movement will be stunted,” he said.
The push for a national board that sets standards for provider performance measures also may gain momentum. The profusion of different measures and questions about their validity have generated growing angst, especially as performance on those measures becomes increasingly linked to financial rewards and penalties. Quality leaders from various healthcare organizations have called for performance rating groups to coordinate their efforts and more closely examine their measurement methodologies.
“We need standards for looking at the validity, importance and feasibility of new and existing metrics,” said Dr. Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “We don't have that degree of robustness right now.”
Finally, as healthcare organizations marry quality of care with patient engagement and experience, there may be a shift from use of the term “patient satisfaction,” said Airica Steed, chief customer experience officer at OhioHealth.
The term is a misnomer that implies a “warm and fuzzy” factor, she said. But in healthcare, the end goal is not primarily to make patients happy, but to offer the highest quality of care and best outcomes possible. “If you only approach it from the aspect of customer service, you completely miss the boat,” she said.