In health care reform discussions, talk inevitably turns to making hospitals and physicians accountable for patient outcomes.  But in a commentary being published in the July 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Johns Hopkins patient safety expert Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., argues that the health care industry doesn’t yet have measurable, achievable and routine ways to prevent patient harm — and that, in many cases, there are too many barriers in the way to attain them.

One of the most important first steps, he says, is to eliminate the arrogance — of physicians who are overconfident about the quality of care they provide or always believe things will go right and aren’t prepared when they don’t, and of hospital officials who fail to aggressively address problems like hospital-acquired infections.

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