Reputation Plays a Vital Role in Influencing a Patient’s Choice of Hospital

From JD Power:

Patient perceptions of a hospital’s reputation play an important role in hospital selection, according to the J.D. Power Associates 2005 National Hospital Service Performance StudySM. The study, which was based on responses from 2,500 patients who stayed in a hospital for at least one night within the previous three to nine months of being surveyed, found that three-fourths of patients used reputation-related information as their primary criteria in selecting a hospital.

Nearly one-half (48 percent) of patients said that the hospital’s overall reputation was their primary criterion for selection, while 25 percent said the availability of good doctors and having skilled nurses on staff was most important in their selection.

The study measured overall patient satisfaction in five categories: dignity and respect; speed and efficiency; comfort; information and communication; and emotional support. Patients overall were very satisfied with the service they received during their most recent hospital stay, with 74 percent of patients giving the hospital high ratings regarding their hospital experience. Hospitals received the highest ratings from patients in the area of dignity and respect. Conversely, patients have consistently given hospitals the lowest ratings for speed and efficiency, with only 36 percent of patients indicating they were delighted.

Contract Negotiations in Olympia

From The Olympian (WA):

About 21,000 state employees and dependents in Thurston County will be warned by mail today that their Uniform Medical Plan insurance won’t cover as much of the cost as it previously did for an emergency room visit at Providence St. Peter Hospital.

At issue is a breakdown in contract talks between the state Health Care Authority, which administers the Uniform Medical Plan, and a group of physicians who staff the Olympia hospital’s emergency room under a separate contract with the hospital.

Because the insurance agreement lapsed Dec. 31 and no new “network” or preferred provider contract has been set, patients could find they’re charged more than would be allowed under the agreement Uniform Medical Plan previously had with the doctors, state officials said Thursday.

Patient’s impatience lands her in rubble

From the Philadelphia Daily News:

A Florida woman sought treatment at a New Jersey hospital’s emergency room over the weekend but apparently didn’t like the service.

Police said she didn’t wait long enough and didn’t wait properly.

But the woman apparently had a second opinion, because she abruptly left the hospital’s emergency room, got into her Buick sport utility vehicle and smashed it through the front entrance and into the lobby.

A.M.A. to Develop Measure of Quality of Medical Care

From the New York Times:

The American Medical Association has signed a pact with Congress promising to develop more than 100 standard measures of performance, which doctors will report to the federal government in an effort to improve the quality of care.

The deal comes as the Bush administration pushes “pay for performance” arrangements with various health care providers in an effort to publicize their performance and link Medicare payment to quality. And it mirrors efforts in the private sector, where consumer groups, insurance companies and large employers who pay for health care are demanding more information on the quality of care.

WA: Compromise emerges on medical-malpractice rules

From The Olympian:

Washington’s medical-­malpractice insurance war appears to be over — for now.

Gov. Chris Gregoire stood beside members of the state’s medical, legal and malpractice insurance establishments Monday to declare a breakthrough agreement in the state’s four-year battle over medical malpractice insurance and its cost to doctors.

The compromise announced Monday includes protections for doctors so that medical personnel can apologize to victims or family members without fear that admissions of fault will be used in direct evidence in malpractice lawsuits.

The deal also includes a new requirement that malpractice insurance rate increases be reviewed by state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler before taking effect. But the compromise drops a three-strikes-you’re-out rule that trial lawyers once sought for offending doctors.

Cell Phone Bans in Hospitals – Invalid?

From USA Today:

According to an informal survey cited by the American Society for health care Engineering, about one-quarter of all hospitals ban cellphones entirely, half ban them from patient care areas, and the remaining quarter have no ban.

The bans go back to early reports from the 1980s that turning on a cellphone could turn off a ventilator or disrupt monitoring equipment.

But in surveying the engineering and medical literature on the topic, the researchers found that most incidents were single-case reports rather than widespread problems.

Modern digital cellphones use much less power than older analog models. And in 1979, the Food and Drug Administration created guidelines for shielding electronic medical devices, the paper notes.

By 1999, the Emergency Care Research Institute, a prominent private hospital advisory group, had updated its recommendations to allow the use of cellphones when quick clinical communication was needed.

Injuries spike amid Dutch dart craze

From CNN.com

A wave of international victories for Dutch darts players has prompted an increase in the number of injuries as people take up the game at home, according to the Dutch consumer safety association.

Over-eagerness caused most of the injuries, said a spokeswoman for the group, with players hurling their darts before opponents had finished retrieving their own. Poorly hung dartboards also posed problems.

“Often the board falls down on someone’s foot or worse on someone’s head,” she added.

About 120 people are admitted to hospitals each year with injuries sustained during darts, with pierced fingers and wrists most common. Eye injuries were rare, the association said.