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March 2015
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Perspectives on Safety
Risk-Adjusted Mortality as a Safety/Quality Measure
INTERVIEW
In Conversation With… Brian Jarman, PhD
Sir Brian Jarman designed the methodology for hospital standardized mortality ratios, a widely used method of measuring quality and safety, and was involved with the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry. We spoke with him about the development of the HSMR and their role in monitoring performance.
(.MP3 | 9.15 MB)
PERSPECTIVE
Where Does Risk-Adjusted Mortality Fit Into a Safety Measurement Program?
by Ian Scott, MBBS, MHA, MEd
This piece discusses risk-adjusted hospital mortality rates as a measure of hospital safety, including why they've become popular, major flaws such as low sensitivity, and alternative ways to use them.
Cases & Commentaries
SPOTLIGHT CASE
A man with suspected renal cell carcinoma seen on CT in the right kidney was transferred to another hospital for surgical management. The imaging was not sent with him, but hospital records, which incorrectly documented the tumor as being on the left side—were. The second hospital did not obtain repeat imaging, and the surgeon did not see the original CT prior to removing the wrong kidney.
Commentary by John G. DeVine, MD
CME/CEU credit available for this case

After presenting to the emergency department, a woman with chest pain was given nitroglycerine and a so-called GI cocktail. Her electrocardiogram was unremarkable, and she was scheduled for a stress test the next morning. A few minutes into the stress test, the patient collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.
Commentary by John R. Genzen, MD, PhD, and Heather N. Signorelli, DO

Admitted to the hospital with chest pain, headache, and accelerated hypertension, an older man with a history of chronic kidney disease and essential hypertension who had missed several days of his regular medications was to be started back on them gradually. One of his antihypertensive medications (minoxidil) was ordered via the EHR, but a vasopressor/antihypotensive medication with a similar name (midodrine) was dispensed. Fortunately, a nurse noticed the discrepancy before administration.
Commentary by Amanda Wollitz, PharmD, and Michael O'Connor, PharmD, MS
Photograph of doctor using a computer
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