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Patient Safety and Quality


Hospital Aims to Eliminate Mistakes (Boston Globe)

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has launched an ambitious quality-improvement effort aimed at eliminating within four years all harm to patients that it considers preventable, such as falls, infections caused by intravenous lines, and medication errors.


Creating a "Roadmap" to Transform Medical Liability System (Press Release)

WALTHAM, MA - Disclosure, apology and offer, a program where clinicians and hospitals respond to an adverse event with clear facts, an appropriate apology and timely and fair financial compensation if warranted, is a viable but underutilized element in efforts to reduce health care costs in Massachusetts, according to preliminary findings of a federally funded study.


Eliminating Preventable Harm: Working Toward Zero (Press Release)

BOSTON - Reducing preventable harm in hospitals often starts with small, low-tech steps: brushing the teeth of patients on ventilators; using low-rise beds and socks with safety treads on both sides; completing a surgical time out before mounting a blade on a scalpel.


Eliminating Preventable Harm: Working Toward Zero (YouTube)


BIDMC Aims To Engage Patients and Families in Effort to Eliminate Preventable Harm in Intensive Care Units (Press Release)

BOSTON – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is embarking on a new phase of its mission to eliminate preventable harm, using information technology and system science together with patient and family engagement to head off harm before it happens. 


Doctors Strive to Do Less Harm by Inattentive Care (New York Times)

Suffering. The very word made doctors uncomfortable. Medical journals avoided it, instructing authors to say that patients “ ‘have’ a disease or complications or side effects rather than ‘suffer’ or ‘suffer from’ them,” said Dr. Thomas H. Lee, the chief medical officer of Press Ganey, a company that surveys hospital patients. But now, reducing patient suffering — the kind caused not by disease but by medical care itself — has become a medical goal. The effort is driven partly by competition and partly by a realization that suffering, whether from long waits, inadequate explanations or feeling lost in the shuffle, is a real and pressing issue. It is as important, says Dr. Kenneth Sands, the chief quality officer at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, as injuries, like medication errors or falls, or infections acquired in a hospital.


Intensive Care Gets Friendlier with Apps, Devices ( Wall Street Journal)

In her The Informed Patient column, Wall Street Journal reporter, Laura Landro, covers four patient care program grantees focused on redesigning care in the ICU to make them safer and more human. Johns Hopkins, University of California at San Francisco, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital share how they are making respectful treatment of patients and families a priority.


Meet the cancer patient in Room 52: (Washington Post)

Improving the experience of a patient and their family, an aspect of care that too often is overlooked, is given top priority thanks to foundation grantees at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco. Their efforts are part of a fundamental change in health care to treat people with respect and dignity and have taken the much-needed step of defining this lack of treatment as a preventable harm. Read the full story from reporter Lena Sun of the Washington Post here.


Hospital ICUs mine big data in push for better outcomes (Wall Street Journal)

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine speak with Laura Landro of The Wall Street Journal about their work to help health care professionals and patients achieve better outcomes through the use of data.


Patient Leaders Urge Hospitals To Eliminate Emotional Harm By Focusing On Respect And Dignity For Patients (Press Release)

BOSTON – Hospitals have made significant strides to reduce or eliminate physical harm to patients since the landmark 1999 Institute of Medicine Report “To Err is Human.” In a new paper published in BMJ, patient care leaders at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) say hospitals must now devote similar attention to eliminating emotional harms that damage a patient’s dignity and can be caused by a failure to demonstrate adequate respect for the patient as a person. 


Doctors need to treat their patients with respect (Boston Globe)

When was the last time you were an hour late for a deeply important professional meeting, sauntered in, sat down and — without so much as a word of apology — began to talk business as if nothing at all were amiss? I’m guessing never.


Boston hospital aims to redefine care and prevent emotional harm (Boston Globe)

One day last year, Enid Shapiro sat in her room at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as the patient in the next bed underwent an unpleasant procedure, cries of distress and confusion ringing out as she was poked and prodded. Shapiro, across the room, tried not to look. Staff flitted around Shapiro to throw away needles, oblivious to her discomfort.


Business News  

BIDMC Iand Milton Hospital Formalize Affiliation (Press Release)

MILTON - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Milton Hospital have formalized their long-standing collaborative relationship under a new agreement that will enhance the existing clinical affiliation and allow both institutions to further their common missions of promoting the health of the communities they serve.


Cambridge Health Alliance and BIDMC Sign Clinical and Academic Affiliation Agreement (Press Release)

CAMBRIDGE – Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have signed an agreement to form a clinical and academic affiliation to enhance care provided by both institutions.


Signature Healthcare, BIDMC Sign Clinical Affiliation Agreement (Press Release)

BOSTON – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at BIDMC and Signature Healthcare Corporation have signed a clinical affiliation agreement designed to deliver high-quality, coordinated care to patients in southeastern Massachusetts.


BIDMC and Jordan Hospital Receive State Approval to Formalize Corporate Alliance (Press Release)

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Public Health Council has approved the application for a change of ownership making Jordan Hospital a member of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center family, bringing enhanced clinical services and additional primary care physicians to the South Shore and Cape Cod.


BIDMC To Open New Outpatient Center In Chestnut Hill (Press Release)

BOSTON – Residents west of downtown Boston in need of after-hours walk-in care will have a new option in 2014 when Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center opens an advanced urgent care center in Chestnut Hill.


BIDMC and New England Baptist Hospital Announce Strategic Relationship (Press Release)

BOSTON -- New England Baptist Hospital (NEBH), known as the only hospital in New England specializing in orthopedic care – and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) – ranked nationally in a wide range of medical and surgical specialties – will form a strategic relationship to create one of the nation’s top destinations for orthopedics. 


Lawrence General Hospital and BIDMC Join Forces (Press Release)

Lawrence, MA — Lawrence General Hospital (LGH) today announced it has joined Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization (BIDCO) and enhanced its clinical affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), enabling Lawrence General to greatly enhance the primary and specialty medical services provided locally. 


Health and Science News


BIDMC To Lead OpenNotes Study (Press Release)

BOSTON - Patients across the country are voicing a growing desire for greater engagement in, and control over, their own medical care. A new study led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) will examine the impact of adding new layer of openness to a traditionally one-sided element of the doctor-patient relationship - the notes from patients' doctors' visits.


Transparency Through Open Notes (Press Release)

BOSTON - Technology has placed vast amounts of medical information literally a mouse click away. Yet what often may be central - a doctor's notes about a patient visit - has traditionally not been part of the discussion. In effect, such records have long been out of bounds. 


Heart Attack Risk Rises after Loss of Loved One (Press Release)

BOSTON - A person's risk of suffering a heart attack increases by approximately 21 times in the first 24 hours after losing a loved one, according to a study lead by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


New Immune Therapy Shows Promise In Kidney Cancer (Press Release)

BOSTON - An antibody that helps a person's own immune system battle cancer cells shows increasing promise in reducing tumors in patients with advanced kidney cancer, according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


Triggers Study Evaluates Regular Staff, ICU Specialists (Press Release)

BOSTON - A system of care focused on the detection and systematic assessment of patients with clinical instability can yield similar outcomes as rapid response teams staffed with trained intensive care specialists, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study has found.


BIDMC Study Suggests Worsening Trends In Back Pain Management (Press Release)

BOSTON – Patient care could be enhanced and the health care system could see significant cost savings if health care professionals followed published clinical guidelines to manage and treat back pain, according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and published in the July 29 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.


Massachusetts Emergency Department Use Rose Slightly After Implementation of State’s Health Care Access Law (Press Release)

BOSTON – Emergency department usage in Massachusetts rose slightly both during and immediately after implementation of a 2006 state law expanding health care access, a sign that broader availability of insurance may increase use of the ED, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers report in a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.


Collaboration Aims To Uncover First Ever Biomarker For Pancreatic Cancer (Press Release)

BOSTON – The search to discover and validate the first-ever clinical biomarker to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer is at the foundation of a new, cross-sector collaboration.  Berg, a biopharmaceutical company committed to uncovering health solutions through a data-driven, biological research approach; the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Team (PCRT) managed by Cancer Research And Biostatistics (CRAB) announced today they will work together to eradicate the disease.


Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution May Pose Risk to Brain Structure, Cognitive Functions (Press Release)

BOSTON – Air pollution, even at moderate levels, has long been recognized as a factor in raising the risk of stroke. A new study led by scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine suggests that long-term exposure can cause damage to brain structures and impair cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults.


Single 30-Day Hospital Readmission Metric Fails To Reflect Changing Risk Factors (Press Release)

BOSTON – A new study from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) suggests that risk factors for readmission change significantly over the course of the 30 days following hospital discharge. Thirty-day hospital readmission rates have become a federal quality metric intended to reflect inpatient quality of care and unnecessary health care utilization. 


Blog Posts


A Boomer Ponders Mortality--and Colonoscopy (March 2009)
In the end, the anxiety is worse than the procedure. And knowing where you stand is better than not. As most baby boomers, I viewed the colonoscopy right-of-passage with something less than wholehearted joy. Lucky enough to have no family history of colon cancer, I did what I often do best when it comes to my health care. I procrastinated. 


Quantity does not equal quality (February 2016)

Performance measures are the sine qua non of the patient quality movement, as they rightly should be. But something has gone wrong along the way: there are now as many measurements and ratings groups as there are bones in the human body.  How to determine the best and most realistic standards has become an impossible task. And even more so for patients looking for a good fit with a clinician.


Mind the gap (February 2016)

Everyone complains about the high cost of healthcare. But what is actually being done about it?


Can't we all just get along? (February 2016)

Be careful of those flying fingers of blame. And by all means choose wisely if you need medical attention after getting poked in the eye. 


A crisis caused by communications (February 2016)

Although he vehemently denies a central role in the ugly power struggle taking place at Boston's Suffolk University, the smart money around town suggests PR executive George Regan is at the heart of the crisis playing out at the school. 


Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard (February 2016)

There's a scene in a movie where a reporter quits his job, flings his pager across the street in satisfaction, watching as it shatters into a thousand pieces. Until it goes off, with a request from a higher authority.


The media must Zika the truth, not hype (January 2016)

AIDS. SARS. MERS. Ebola. The media is now learning about another virus that is creating chills and headaches. Any scary headlines.


Physician(s): heal thyself (January 2016)

The latest report from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission should come as no surprise to anyone who has an interest in the state's effort at health care cost control.


Eliminating preventable (media) harm 

There's a lot of good work taking place these days in trying to eliminate physical and emotional harm to patients and families.


News Stories


Vanessa Redgrave defends right to work

By JERRY BERGER  | April 13, 1982 

BOSTON -- Saying her goal is to prevent a return to the blacklisting policies of the 1950s, actress Vanessa Redgrave, outspoken in her defense of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Tuesday defended her right to work no matter what her political beliefs might be.


Murdoch deal saves Boston newspaper

By JERRY BERGER | Dec. 3, 1982 

BOSTON -- Jubilant employees shouted 'we're alive' and began preparing today's editions of the Boston Herald American following an 11th hour agreement that allowed publisher Rupert Murdoch rescue the ailing tabloid.


'A lot of people have mixed feelings'

By JERRY BERGER   | Jan. 26, 1983 

BOSTON -- President Reagan took a first-hand look Wednesday at the high technology industry he called a 'vast frontier of opportunity' in his State of the Union speech, and attracted up to 2,000 booing protesters along the way.


Blood vessel abnormalities that lead to deformed limbs in mice may provide researchers a clue

By JERRY BERGER   | Oct. 4, 1983 

BOSTON -- Blood vessel abnormalities that lead to deformed limbs in mice may provide researchers with a clue to dealing with genetic defects that cause malformed limbs in human beings, researchers said Tuesday.


Patients frequently get wrong medicine at hospitals

By JERRY BERGER  | Jan. 19, 1984 

BOSTON -- Hospitals give patients the wrong medication as often as once every six doses, often because drugs with widely different uses are packaged in similar bottles, the New England Journal of Medicine reported today.


Fenway is Greening After Winter Snows

By JERRY BERGER   | April 8, 1984 

BOSTON -- Dirty snow melts on one side of the imposing green wall, while on the other, men armed with fertilizer and rakes engage in an annual rite of spring.


They have been called American royalty

By JERRY BERGER, United Press International  | April 25, 1984 

They have been called American royalty, boasting one president and two United States senators, but death and tragedy have been more than equal partners to the glory of Joseph and Rose Kennedy.


Candidates await end to 'Duel of Dynasties'

By JERRY BERGER   | April 19, 1986 

BOSTON -- The intense media spotlight on the 8th Congressional District 'Duel of the Dynasties' between Joseph Kennedy II and James Roosevelt Jr. has more than a dozen hopefuls patiently waiting their turn at some attention.


GOP gubernatorial candidate embellishes military record

By JERRY BERGER   | June 3, 1986 

BOSTON -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Royall H. Switzler Tuesday admitted embellishing his military record in previous campaign literature, but said he would remain a candidate in the September primary.


GOP candidate withdraws from governor's race

By JERRY BERGER   | July 15, 1986 

BOSTON -- Gregory Hyatt, the embattled Republican candidate for governor, withdrew from the race Tuesday in the face of allegations he asked an organized crime figure for fund-raising help.


A comatose patient may die a natural death with dignity

By JERRY BERGER   | Sept. 11, 1986 

BOSTON -- A comatose patient may die a natural death with dignity, the state's highest court ruled Thursday in allowing the removal of a feeding tube that has sustained a father of five for three years.


Sexual harassment ruled discrimination

By JERRY BERGER   | June 3, 1987 

BOSTON -- Sexual harassment in the workplace violates state anti-discrimination laws, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in what is believed to be the first such ruling by a state court.


The public admission by Massachusetts first lady Kitty Dukakis reflects new disclosure standards

By JERRY BERGER   |  July 12, 1987 

BOSTON -- The public admission by Massachusetts first lady Kitty Dukakis of a 26-year drug dependency reflects a new set of disclosure standards for presidential candidates since the demise of Gary Hart's campaign.


A 'handful of greedy Iowa politicians' have subverted the presidential primary process”

By JERRY BERGER   | July 14, 1987 

BOSTON -- A 'handful of greedy Iowa politicians' have subverted the presidential primary process through that state's first-in-the-nation caucuses, Gary Hart's former campaign manager said Tuesday.


Top Dukakis campaign aides quit over Biden tape flap

By JERRY BERGER   | Sept. 30, 1987 

BOSTON -- The two top lieutenants of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis resigned Wednesday after admitting involvement in circulating a videotape damaging rival Joseph Biden's White House bid and lying about it.


Alexander Haig pulled out of the crowded GOP presidential contest

By JERRY BERGER   | Feb. 12, 1988 

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Alexander Haig pulled out of the crowded GOP presidential contest today, ending his campaign with a sharp blast at Vice President George Bush and backing Bush's chief rival, Sen. Robert Dole.


Candidate shopping at the mall

By JERRY BERGER   | Feb. 16, 1988 

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Presidential candidates looking for a last-minute spark for a win today in the crucial New Hampshire primary pitched their wares to thousands of voters window-shopping for candidates at a large shopping mall.


Dukakis sets sights on South

By JERRY BERGER   | Feb. 16, 1988 

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, claiming a 'terrific boost' from his convincing win in neighboring New Hampshire, set his sights Tuesday on the South and vowed a strong showing in Dixie.


JFK Memorial unveiled

By JERRY BERGER, UPI Statehouse Reporter   | April 7, 1988 

BOSTON -- An 8-foot bronze likeness of President Kennedy, striding with one hand in his suit pocket, will become the first formal Statehouse tribute to Massachusetts' slain native son, officials said


Massachusetts guarantees health care access

By JERRY BERGER   | April 13, 1988 

BOSTON -- Critics say the law making Massachusetts the first state to guarantee universal access to health care could bankrupt businesses and hospitals, but supporters call it a long overdue extension of a basic right.


Michael Dukakis's self-proclaimed management skills are being put to crucial test

By JERRY BERGER   | May 15, 1988 

BOSTON -- Democratic presidential front-runner Michael Dukakis's self-proclaimed management skills are being put to a crucial test by a sharp drop in revenues that was counted on to balance a $12 billion state budget.


Kitty Dukakis, wife of Democratic presidential candidate, underwent five hours of successful surgery

By JERRY BERGER   | June 3, 1988 

BOSTON -- Kitty Dukakis, wife of Democratic presidential candidate and Gov. Michael Dukakis, underwent five hours of successful surgery Friday to repair two ruptured disks in her neck, which threatened to damage her spinal cord.


Bentsen choice came at Dukakis kitchen table

By JERRY BERGER   | July 12, 1988 

BOSTON -- Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis chose Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as his running mate during a discussion around Dukakis' kitchen table, the top adviser to the Massachusetts governor said Tuesday.


Dukakis defends environmental record

By JERRY BERGER   | Aug. 31, 1988 

BOSTON -- Michael Dukakis launched a preemptive strike Wednesday against George Bush's planned visit to polluted Boston Harbor, calling the vice president's trip an 'election-year conversion' to environmental protection.


News Analysis: Sasso's return bolsters Dukakis effort

By JERRY BERGER   | Sept. 3, 1988 

BOSTON -- John Sasso's return to the presidential campaign trail restores Michael Dukakis's link with a personal and professional alter ego who gave life to the Massachusetts governor's quest for the White House.


Pledge dispute in Dukakis hometown

By JERRY BERGER   | Sept. 17, 1988 

BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Education Secretary William Bennett's stinging blast against Michael Dukakis's hometown has re-opened the festering sores of a five-year battle over the Pledge of Allegiance at town meetings.


The Boston Globe did not libel former Gov. Edward J. King

By JERRY BERGER   | Sept. 29, 1988 

BOSTON -- The Boston Globe did not libel former Gov. Edward J. King when it published a column saying King pressured a judge to change a decision in a gang rape case -- even though the allegation was false, a jury ruled Thursday.


Massachusetts budget problems take center stage

By JERRY BERGER   | Nov. 13, 1988

BOSTON -- Massachusetts budget problems, a peripheral issue in the 1988 presidential campaign, takes center stage this week when a legislative committee opens hearings on the financial woes facing Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.


Dukakis prefers to look ahead

By JERRY BERGER   | Dec. 23, 1988 

BOSTON -- Michael Dukakis says he has put his defeat to President-elect George Bush behind him and is focusing on the job he long proclaimed as the only one he ever wanted -- Massachusetts governor.


Kitty Dukakis discusses alcoholism

By JERRY BERGER   | March 9, 1989 

BOSTON -- Kitty Dukakis refused Thursday to blame her husband's rough and tumble White House campaign against President Bush for alcoholism problems that sent her to a treatment center for 31 days.


Dukakis' fall from grace dizzying

By JERRY BERGER   | July 16, 1989 

BOSTON -- A year ago this week Michael Dukakis grabbed the Democratic presidential nomination and had his party virtually giddy with the thought he would win the White House. His fall from grace in the past 12 months has been dizzying.









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