Patient safety indicators require a comprehensive approach


The North Texas hospitals support sharing data regarding hospital performance with the public in a transparent manner as long as the information is complete, accurate and limitations are fully disclosed. An example of the complexity related to data analysis is the computer error revealed recently impacting the financial penalties against hospitals on Medicare readmissions within 30 days. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) inadvertently included data in its calculations that was too old and had to publish new rates on the day prior to implementation.

Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) are readily available from administrative claims data which are not necessarily the best way to compare patient safety at hospitals.  Many use PSIs as an acknowledged way to analyze hospital performance, but the historical comparisons may not be indicative of current performance. It is misleading to patients for public assessments of quality and safety to be evaluated on anything other than a comprehensive, complete approach.

In 2010, most state databases did not differentiate between patients entering the hospitals with an infection and patients who develop an infection within the hospital. Thus, hospitals treating patients with the most serious needs tend to perform more poorly in some reports. The public needs to be aware of the limitations of any data reports regarding patient safety. There are many measurements for comparison of hospitals and recently The Joint Commission’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures for 2011 included many hospitals from North Texas, which is outstanding. Ultimately, our member hospitals work consistently to deliver patient care in a safe environment for the best patient outcomes. North Texas hospitals welcome transparency and disclosure of various indicators if revealed in a complete and comprehensive manner.