October 2, 2007 - As part of a far-reaching effort to enhance patient safety, strengthen accountability and improve quality of care, the North Shore-LIJ Health System has started to publicly disclose infection rates at 10 of its hospitals on Long Island, Queens and Staten Island, NY.
One of the nation's largest health systems, North Shore-LIJ is New York State's first nonpublic hospital to publicly report information on the prevalence of infections at its hospitals. The information is posted on North Shore-LIJ's new quality Web site www.northshorelij.com/quality. The site also includes information on its hospitals' performance in treating patients for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, as well as their success in performing cardiac bypass and joint replacement surgeries.
"For far too long, hospitals and other healthcare providers have operated in a vacuum in interacting with the public," said Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. "The more information made available to the public on how well hospitals perform, the more transparent the healthcare system becomes to consumers - and that's a good thing because greater scrutiny will produce improvements in the quality of care."
The Web site includes three years of data for 10 North Shore-LIJ hospitals on five common healthcare-related infections:
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia
- Bloodstream infections caused by a catheter
- Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), more commonly known as a resistant "staph" infection
- Clostridium difficile, C.difficile is a type of bacteria that can cause stomach discomfort
"Our efforts at public reporting are aimed at building trust with patients and reinforcing the message that quality is a continuous work in progress," said Lawrence G. Smith, M.D, chief medical officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. "On this new Web site, we're comfortable sharing information with the public about those areas where we are strong as well as those areas where we need to do better. It's all part of our commitment to continuous improvement."
Dowling said North Shore-LIJ decided to start reporting the information voluntarily because he believes the healthcare industry needs to be more open with the public in sharing information and educating consumers.
"Healthcare providers need to be more proactive in working with patients and families to help prevent infections and medical errors, and encouraging consumers to ask the right questions of their physicians and nurses," he said.
For more information: www.northshorelij.com