After going in for a routine procedure, a man ends up with a punctured lung and a medical emergency. A woman's surgery goes well until her stomach is stitched up with a sponge inside. Most of us feel safe going to the doctor, but the road to high-quality care was not straightforward. In this FSI World Class Podcast, Stanford Health Policy's Kathryn McDonald tells us how the safe, high-quality care we expect got where it is today and what we can do to maintain it. Kathryn McDonald is the Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy/Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford University.
And in this Q&A posted on Medium, McDonald responds to the age-old question: How can we improve the quality of health care?
"One of the lead agencies that’s responsible for generating evidence and moving it into practice is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). They’re under Health and Human Services. They have a major program called AHRQ’s Evidence Now aimed at improving heart health in America. Lots of people are on aspirin to prevent heart attacks, but there are also lots of people who could benefit from it who aren’t on it. They’re working with the health-care delivery system to figure out how to get patients who need to be on aspirin to use it. These are driven by reforms to make the delivery system accountable for patients’ health. If you can change behavior — either of patients or of physicians — you can save more lives."