Category Archives: Patient safety

Online privacy violations do real harm to patients

Ari Friedman

Ari Friedman (Photo courtesy of Hoag Levins)

A new study shows third-party tracking occurs on nearly all hospital websites, buttressing recent news coverage about consumers’ loss of privacy when they browse for health information online.

In fact, nearly all U.S. hospital websites have been sharing potentially sensitive medical information about their visitors with tech companies, data brokers and advertising firms, according to a University of Pennsylvania analysis published in Health Affairs.

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How nondisclosure agreements
stifle reporting about unsafe care

contract signing

Photo by RDNE Stock Project via Pexels

Just as gag orders conceal the activities of sexual predators, they are routinely used to bury instances of poor patient care. 

Typically it happens like this: The family of a patient who was harmed or killed by a medical error negotiates a monetary settlement with a health care provider. 

Just before the deal is signed, the provider’s attorneys insist on a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that bars the family from saying anything to anyone about what happened. Ever.

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Reporting series exposes the perils
of Connecticut’s shift to in-home elder care

Jenna Carlesso and Dave Altimari

Jenna Carlesso and Dave Altimari, reporters with The Connecticut Mirror

Enabling more Americans to live their final years at home should be a win-win, giving older people the comfort of familiar surroundings while saving government programs money on costly nursing home care. 

But in Connecticut, a state program to increase the number of long-term care residents on Medicaid who remain in their homes has followed a rocky path.

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What to know about the state of patient safety

Photo by RODNAE Productions via pexels.

In the last year many prominent voices have raised alarms about deficiencies in patient safety, just as staffing shortages have heightened concerns about harm due to inadequate care.

Here are five key points that have emerged.

1. Measures of patient safety worsened during the pandemic.

Rates of some hospital-associated infections tracked by the CDC increased in 2020 and 2021 following several years of improvement. Data show that falls and bed sores also increased.

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Journalist offers tips for investigating private equity firms

Fred Schulte

Editor’s note: This is the second of two posts on covering private equity.

Lack of transparency is a giant hurdle in reporting on the growing influence of private equity in health care.

Reporters covering public corporations can easily obtain periodic financial reports and ownership disclosures that are filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Information about the finances and public benefits of nonprofit hospitals is readily available via the IRS’s Form 900.

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