The Modern Hospital Maze
Today’s hospitals are an ocean of paradox and complexity. Losing one’s bearings is almost inevitable. Losing a loved one to avoidable medical errors should not be.
Hospitals are funded by taxpayers, healthcare consumers, insurance companies and employers. But as The Center for Patient Protection and others have observed, they frequently lack the transparency and accountability necessary to facilitate informed decisions by those who use and pay for their services.
They speak a language that is foreign to almost everyone. Armies of professionals and bureaucrats seem more interested in maintaining a moat of bewilderment and complexity that places the system far beyond the reach of its ordinary users and payers instead of fashioning an inviting bridge of accessibility and warmth. Sometimes it’s even hard to know who does what in the hospital. Is that person coming into my mother’s room a nurse? A resident? A specialist? Or are they going to clean the bathroom? Exhaustion is never far away when a family is taking their responsibilities for the care and protection of a loved-one seriously. The experience can be daunting.
Hospitals are part of a healing system, but many who interact with them frequently describe experiences that reflect an astonishing lack of compassion and respect. This is especially true of patients and families who have suffered medical errors and harm.
The Perilous Hospital Journey
And here’s another really big paradox: We turn to hospitals in the hope of getting better. Many of us do, and we can be very thankful about that. But, too often, the very opposite happens. Hospital harm claims the lives of up to 500,000 patients in the U.S. and Canada every year. That’s more than 1,000 avoidable deaths every day. Countless others are injured and even permanently disabled. Families are thrust into life-changing traumas they never saw coming. These experiences can carry devastating consequences for their health, finances and careers. What is even more troubling is the inescapable fact that most of this harm is entirely avoidable.
The pages on this site are intended to help provide patients and families the information they need to ensure more positive outcomes as they navigate the healthcare system and, particularly, its hospital setting.
Learn about the principles behind our campaign to make Patient Protection 1stSM. Insist that your healthcare providers follow them. Click on the links at the side to become informed, engaged and protected in your hospital journey. They can make a big difference in the quality of that experience for both patients and families.
Three things all patients and families need to do to ensure safer care and positive hospital outcomes.