Quality of Hospital Care Up for Three Conditions
U.S. hospitals have made improvements in the care provided to heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Joint Commission, AP/Long Island Newsday reports. The report, which examined whether more than 3,000 hospitals followed treatment guidelines for the three conditions, found that care consistently improved from 2002 to 2005.
According to the report, 80% of pneumonia patients received advice to help them quit smoking in 2005, compared with 37.2% in 2002. The report also found that 96% of heart attack patients received aspirin when they arrived at the hospital in 2005, an improvement of 3.6 percentage points from 2002.
In addition, the report found that 40% of heart failure patients left the hospital without specific instructions on follow-up care in 2005, an improvement of 28% from 2002 but still not an acceptable rate, according to Joint Commission President Dennis O'Leary.
Joint Commission inspectors visited 1,500 hospitals in 2005 and found that 38% had not standardized abbreviations for medical terms that could cause confusion. Inspectors also found that 17% of hospitals do not have surgeons practice "time out" before surgeries to allow them to confirm that they have the correct patient and are prepared to perform the correct procedure on the correct body part (Johnson, AP/Long Island Newsday, 3/20).