Health care Rx: Transparency pushes quality

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – More transparency in medical care may not always be comfortable, but it opens the door for tremendous improvements in quality and safety.
“This is an exciting time,” said Dr. Marty Makary, who was the keynote speaker at North Mississippi Medical Center’s annual Grand Round meeting Thursday night, which included medical staff from the hospital system and its affiliated clinics. “For the first time in our history, we’re being honest about our problems.”
Makary, a surgeon and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine faculty member, is best known for his contribution of “The Surgical Checklist.”
“Dr. Makary is a world expert on advancing transparency,” which is central to improving quality and safety, said Dr. Mark Williams, who serves as chief medical officer for North Mississippi Health Services, William said.
Makary, whose book “Unaccountable” has sparked debate on transparency and quality since it was published in September, has advocated measures such as allowing patients to see doctor’s notes in real time and using external review to address problems.
“It’s really ignited a conversation about overtreatment, medical mistakes, the pressures doctors are under and the growing divide between doctors and (hospital) management,” Makary said.
The Thursday night event is the third Grand Round event and is focused on recognizing physician contributions to safety and quality gains in the NMHS system.
“We could never do any of this without our physicians,” Williams said. “They’re very engaged in improving quality and safety.”
Today, Makary will be spending the day at NMMC-Tupelo, and he said he’s looking forward to learning about what works well here.
“It’s a good example of a hospital working to become more transparent,” Makary said. “They’ve made quality and safety a focus.”
michaela.morris@journalinc.com