From The Wall Street Journal Health Blog
Big Grant Aims to Help Patients Maintain Dignity
By Janet Adamy
A large health-care grant unveiled Tuesday is aimed at tackling an often overlooked side effect of hospital care: the loss of dignity that afflicts particularly sick patients.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, created by the Intel Corp. founder and his wife, plans to award $500 million to hospitals over the next decade with the lofty aim of eliminating all preventable harms done to patients in acute-care settings. The targets include the infections patients pick up inside the hospital and other complications that could have been avoided through more systematic monitoring of patients.
What’s notable is that the foundation has included in the list of preventable harms the loss of dignity and respect that patients and families experience during long hospital stays.
“We believe that the loss of dignity and respect is a heretofore unrecognized harm,” said George Bo-Linn, chief program office for the patient-care program at the Palo Alto, Calif., foundation. Fewer than half of all patients report feeling a part of and respected by the health-care system that serves them, according to the foundation.
One way to help correct that is to give patients sophisticated tools to track how they feel and better communicate with their caretakers.
The first grant recipient is the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, which will get $8.9 million. Inside the Baltimore hospital’s intensive-care unit, the money will go toward giving every patient an iPad or another type of tablet that will help them log and follow how their caretakers are performing on 250 points of care aimed at reducing harm to the patient. The tablets will also allow patients and families to hold video conferences with their physicians.
A Johns Hopkins patient named Scott Crawford was the subject of a Wall Street Journal story in July. Mr. Crawford became one of the most expensive Americans on Medicare when he got a deadly infection after undergoing a heart transplant.
Peter Pronovost, a Johns Hopkins critical-care specialist who helped treat Mr. Crawford, will lead the project from his perch as director of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute.
The hospital tapped engineers at the applied physics lab at Johns Hopkins who designed a clock for the iPad that a patient can click on to track metrics pertaining to their treatment. The hospital also plans to work with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins to evaluate how it can come up with a new measurement to evaluate whether care is disrespectful.