To avoid becoming a malpractice victim, and to get the highest quality care, a useful safety credential for patients to look for in researching hospitals is called NSQUIP.
NSQUIP stands for the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, developed by the American College of Surgeons. It was adapted from an error-reduction system started by the Veterans Administration system (a pioneer in patient safety and quality in several respects).
A recent report found across-the-board safety improvements in those hospitals participating in the NSQUIP since it was started in 2005.
The problem is that only about 250 hospitals in the United States participate. The College of Surgeons is now looking for ways to lower the $35,000 annual price tag for participation, which apparently has been a barrier to smaller hospitals to adopt the program.
Here is a list of the hospitals that currently participate in the NSQUIP.
The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports on a new program growing out of NSQUIP which will help surgeons and patients calculate the exact risks of a proposed procedure and individualize it for their own hospital, based on data collected by the NSQUIP.
The NSQUIP program marks another step forward in giving patients the information they need to make intelligent choices about their health care. Unfortunately prospective patients don’t have direct access to the NSQUIP data, but some of it is available indirectly through websites that gather hospital metrics, such as the Joint Commission “Quality Check” site and the Medicare Hospital Compare site.
I discuss the pros and cons of various hospital quality ratings in my book, “The Life You Save,” where I conclude that one of the best measures now available is patient satisfaction, which is a survey that appears on the Medicare site.