Healthcare Coordination and Patient Safety

The National Quality Forum has issued its most recent electronic newsletter calling on the healthcare industry to coordinate and collaborate in its healthcare measures in the interest of patient safety. The Forum estimates that in a 5 day hospital stay the average patient is passed between doctors 15 times. This may lead to miscommunication, misinterpretation of test results, and diagnostic errors. In this dizzying maze of healthcare providers, the patient is confronted with an arrange of opinions and diagnoses that may conflict with other opinions and diagnoses. The patient is not provided with a coordinated, thoughtful plan of diagnosis and treatment. In this atmosphere, there is often very little dialogue with the patient or family members about the diagnosis and treatment options. This can lead to medical errors and misdiagnoses.
In 2006, The National Quality Forum offered the following as goals for the improvement of coordinated healthcare:
Improve care and achieve quality by facilitating and carefully considering feedback from all patients regarding coordination of their care;
Improve communication around medication information;
Work to reduce 30-day readmission rates; and
Work to reduce preventable emergency department (ED) visits by 50 percent.
These goals would improve the quality of healthcare for patients in circumstances where they are being treated by a number of physicians and healthcare providers. These are implementable goals toward which the entire healthcare community should be striving.