Previously published as: British Journal of Clinical Governance
Online from: 2003
Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare
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|Title:||Applying continuous improvement in public reporting: What should government reports do for quality improvement?|
|Author(s):||David Birnbaum, (Healthcare Associated Infections Program, Washington State Department of Health, Olympia, Washington, USA), Jude Van Buren, (Department of Environmental Health and Safety, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)|
|Citation:||David Birnbaum, Jude Van Buren, (2010) "Applying continuous improvement in public reporting: What should government reports do for quality improvement?", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 15 Iss: 2, pp.79 - 91|
|Keywords:||Government, Patients, Public health, Quality, Safety, United States of American|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/14777271011035013 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The authors would like to thank the community partners throughout Washington State for their generous contribution of time and expertise as members of a broadly representative program advisory committee. Disclosures: the authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.|
Purpose – This paper aims to describe the history and growth of mandatory public reporting of healthcare-associated infection rates and the philosophy and implementation of an evidence-based total-quality-oriented state government program and also to provide critical appraisal of recognized assumptions underlying this movement.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides a narrative review of pertinent evaluation research literature and the authors' own experience.
Findings – Washington is one of few states that hired experts in the subject area to develop its new program. It is one of the first exploring optimal ways to validate the rates reported, and one of very few taking evidence-based approaches to all aspects of program design.
Practical implications – The work provides a model for less-developed agencies to follow.
Originality/value – This is a new and unprecedented role for state health departments, but offers opportunities to raise standards of practice through continuous quality improvement approaches with hospital partners while regaining public trust through transparency. Weak evidence supporting fundamental assumptions, and failure of prior approaches, indicate that we must explore new paths rather than follow established ones.
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