The Sunday paper’s Parade section on February 8, 2009 contained an interesting article entitled “Don’t Let a Hospital Make You Sick.” The article contained a number of facts that I knew, but that are not widely known by the general public. Facts such as 1300 times per year operating on the wrong patient or removing the wrong organ or limb. Or 98,000 deaths per year due to medical mistakes. Or surgical instruments being left inside patient at a rate of once per 5000 patients.
Anyone who has studied Six Sigma knows that these processes are performing far below Six Sigma levels. Why are we willing to tolerate such abysmal quality from such an important supplier? I’ve worked in healthcare enough to know that there’s no reason that our healthcare can’t be delivered with at least as high a quality level as a beer can.