Two States Make Significant Progress in Medical Safety Accountability

As a new year dawns, there is hopeful news regarding patient safety. That is the case in at least two states, Washington and Ohio, both of which took significant steps in improving patient safety by making public hospital safety data.
In Washington state, the state Department of Health has developed a website where the state’s hospitals’ infection records and medical safety records are made public. The new website has already benefited the hospitals as well as the patients. When Washington’s Swedish Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals in the state, was shown to have unusually high infection rates linked to central lines (tubes inserted into patients), the hospital responded to the bad news and began to correct the problem. Updated state health data shows that the hospital has responded to the issue and is making corrections to resolve the infection issue. Perhaps, this would not have happened if this data was not made public.
In Ohio, the state Department of Health launched a website that tracks mortality rates for certain hospital procedures, compliance rates in treating common conditions, and provides three patient safety indicators.
These new measures are positive signs that at least in some states, the fight for transparency and improvement in patient safety is making progress.