National Priorities Partnership Maps Health Care Reforms

The National Priorities Partnership published its "National Priorities & Goals: Aligning Our Efforts to Transform America's Healthcare" report yesterday. The document focuses on six priority areas in which the 28 organizations believe they can have the greatest impact.

A stronger safety culture in all health care organizations is one goal of the partnership, which was convened by the Washington, D.C.-based National Quality Forum and produced the report with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The six priority areas are:

  • Engage patients and their families in managing their health and making decisions about their care.

  • Improve the health of the population.

  • Improve the safety and reliability of America's healthcare system.

  • Ensure patients receive well-coordinated care within and across all healthcare organizations, settings, and levels of care.

  • Guarantee appropriate and compassionate care for patients with life-limiting illnesses.

  • Eliminate overuse when ensuring the delivery of appropriate care.

Unwarranted or overused care procedures cited in the report include Cesarian section deliveries, chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life, prostate cancer screening for males older than 75, and preventable emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

"Patient safety is improving at a very slow pace," the report states, "with leading indicators showing gains of only 1 percent per year on average. Every year in U.S. hospitals, there are 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections (HAIs); other serious adverse events, such as pressure ulcers, falls, adverse drug events, and blood product injuries, affect hundreds of thousands of patients. We believe the healthcare system should be relentless in continually reducing the risks of injury from care, while aiming for 'zero' harm wherever and whenever possible."

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