Quality improvement

Our length of stay is too long. That means on average, we are keeping people in the hospital longer than we should, given their diagnosis. But we will be penalized for bounce backs, which is where a patient is readmitted within a month. So, we need to get people out earlier and ensure they don't come back. Our A1c's are too high. We are not keeping diabetes well enough in check. Our blood pressures are not well enough controlled. We are not getting enough yearly mammograms.

Quality improvement can be frustrating at times, because there are so many places where a quality standard is being imposed, either now or in the future, and many of these standards have no evidence whatsoever that they actually improve patient outcomes.

So let's be honest here. These goals are not to improve quality. They are to save cost. There's nothing wrong with that. We waste a lot of money in health care and trimming our expenditures is reasonable for any business. But I resent the idea that I am not delivering quality care because I don't hit some arbitrary target, or document something so some quality maven can review it.

A few years ago, I had a patient with HTN and diabetes who was passing out frequently. So I changed his meds so SBP was >140 and A1c was >8.0, and he hasn't passed out since. I think he would say that he's getting quality care.