Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Time for the 'Brute Force' Option

We have written previously about Dr. Lucien Leape, father of the modern safety movement, who has called for "Regulation over Exhortation".  In the May 2013 issue of HealthLeaders he was asked:

"Tell me more about the regulatory agency that would compel patient safety in hospitals, what you call the 'brute force' option."

Dr. Leape answered:

"I was joking about 'brute force'.  What I mean is regulation as opposed to exhortation.  This agency would do what the FAA does, which is to say, 'Here are the standards.  We expect you to follow them.  And we're going to come around and inspect and if you're not doing them, we're going to rap your wrists and expect you to shape up and really get serious about it."

He continued:

"It's inconceivable to me that hospitals can continue to not follow practices that are known to make a real difference"

The NDF wrote Dr. Leape at Harvard suggesting that pressure ulcers constitute a hospital error that his proposed agency should regulate.  He responded, in part:

"I think pressure ulcers are indeed an example of something that health care organizations should be held accountable for.  Failure to prevent them, when we know how, is negligence, pure and simple."

In line with Dr. Leape's thoughts, the NDF plans to concentrate its efforts on educating Congress that pressure ulcers are preventable, and that all hospitals must be required to have on hand sufficient pressure redistribution support surfaces for all admitted patients identified as being at-risk.  This is the NDF "Prevention Protocol".