Many chairmen unaware of hospital quality

This is inexcusable:

The journal Health Affairs will soon publish a survey of the chairmen of more than 700 hospitals. Its main message is that many hospitals are not even aware of what they do well and what they don’t. The physicians who conducted the survey, Ashish Jha and Arnold Epstein, gave the chairmen a list of issues — including financial performance, organizational strategy and the quality of health care — and asked them to name their board’s two top priorities. Roughly half did not name the quality of care. Yet the chairmen said they believed that the care at their hospitals was above average. Even at those hospitals that Medicare data suggest are among the worst in the country, 58 percent of the chairmen said they thought their hospital was above average. Not a single one said the hospital was below average. – David Leonhardt’s “Making Health Care Better” in The New York Times Magazine.

It’s hard to believe not one thought of their care as being below average.  It’s an illustration of the Goliath the quality healthcare movement is up against.  Or they don’t want to publicly admit problems–which is a likely scenario.  Or the hospital is good at some stuff and not so good at others–which, too, is a realistic situation.

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