Tag Archives: quality

The importance of addressing hospital-acquired superbug infections

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Phalinn Ooi via Flickr

Photo: Phalinn Ooi via Flickr

For three years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have penalized hospitals when the institutions show unacceptably high rates of potentially avoidable complications, such as blood clots, bed sores, and infections, Jordan Rau reported last month for Kaiser Health News.

The federal agency this year added penalties for two hospital-acquired infections that result from germs resistant to antibiotics: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (known as MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Continue reading

What quality measures can tell us about nursing home ratings

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Brian Bullock via Flickr

Photo: Brian Bullock via Flickr

Nursing home star ratings are misleading and disingenuous, according to a recent analysis comparing ratings with quality measures alone. More than a thousand nursing homes nationally with high overall ratings had only one or two stars in quality measures, which could point to some serious health implications for residents. Continue reading

AHCJ award winner spoke at professional meeting of industry she investigated

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo courtesy of The Dark ReportInvestigative reporter Ellen Gabler last fall addressed a New Orleans meeting of clinical laboratory professionals at the annual Lab Quality Confab.

Photo courtesy of The Dark ReportInvestigative reporter Ellen Gabler addressed a New Orleans meeting of clinical laboratory professionals at the annual Lab Quality Confab.

Last fall, I was fortunate to hear journalist Ellen Gabler give a presentation about one of her investigations to a gathering of administrators, executives and pathologists in the clinical laboratory industry.

The session at Lab Quality Confab in New Orleans was unusual because journalists rarely are invited to talk about their work before the industry they cover. Continue reading

Assessing a journal’s quality can help assess a study’s newsworthiness

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: usabiomedlib via Flickr

Photo: usabiomedlib via Flickr

Perhaps you stumble onto an intriguing study that you haven’t seen covered and want to report on it. Or you receive a press release touting provocative findings that sound pretty astonishing … if they’re true. One potential indication of the paper’s significance and quality is the journal in which it was published.

Publication in a highly regarded journal is not a guarantee in itself that the paper is good – the blog Retraction Watch has hundreds of examples of that. In fact, one of the most famously retracted studies of all time – that of Andrew Wakefield’s attempt to link autism and vaccines in a small cases series – was published in The Lancet, one of the top medical journals in the U.K. (Ironically, that study continues to contribute to The Lancet’s impact factor because it’s the second-most-cited retracted paper as ranked by Retraction Watch.) Continue reading

Patient outcomes are among the most overlooked stories in health care

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

If you saw our November webcast on how consumers and payers can evaluate physician quality, you know that we began with a quote from Atul Gawande, M.D., about patient outcomes.

A professor of health policy and management at Harvard University and a prolific and gifted writer, Gawande is the best-selling author of “Being Mortal” and “The Checklist Manifesto.” He’s also a contributor for The New Yorker and other publications, writing about cardiologists in McAllen, Texas, super utilizers in New Jersey, and unnecessary care nationwide.

In short, he’s darn good at what we do. Continue reading