David Torchiana, MD, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, visited BWH last month to deliver a presentation called “A Century of Public Reporting, from Codman to Today” as part of BWH’s Quality Rounds lecture series.
Torchiana spoke about the influence of the late Ernest Codman, MD—a pioneering Boston surgeon and Harvard Medical School graduate born in 1869—on the quality improvement movement in health care. Codman believed that every hospital should follow all patients after discharge to see if their treatment was successful, and if it wasn’t, hospitals and clinicians should find out why in order to improve care for future patients. In 1913, the American College of Surgeons appointed Codman to lead a committee on hospital standardization, which in the 1950s evolved into The Joint Commission, the world’s leading accreditation authority for hospitals.
Torchiana explained the importance of reporting quality measures to the public—including its ability to improve patient care and help the public make informed health care choices—as well as some of the challenges, including mass media’s sometimes incomplete interpretation of what is reported.