AN ADVOCATE FOR REFORM
Lack of accountability is on purpose. Doctors, hospitals and their malpractice insurance agencies are actively lobbying against accountability.
There are a number of professional associations which spend taxpayer-originating resources fighting against patients who've been injured by the system.
We need to change this. One way to start is to use some tax funds to investigate patient complaints, with the help of an independent office like the Ombudsman. This will help balance the playing field.
Another thing we need to do is to identify this use of tax funds for medical industry protection and to inform the public about it.
When bad things happen to patients, and I speak from personal experience, one of the strongest emotions you feel is a desire for this to never happen to another person, to know that it didn't happen in vain.
We need to help patients contribute their stories and we need to learn from those stories for the sake of all our safety. Right now, patient complaints are falling between the cracks and we are failing to learn from them!
Not addressing systemic medical errors and patient complaints is a form of neglect. In other industries, if people were dying and injured because of services they received, managers would be obligated to find out why and to do everything in their power to prevent it from happening again. And yet we're talking about HEALTH care here and it seems that our health and safety haven't been big enough priorities to merit that kind of investigation.
We need health care FOR the people, not TO the people - health care in teh patients' interest rather than in the interest of those benefiting from current failures. We owe every patient care which prevents injury and death, not which contributes to it unnecessarily.
Giving the Ombudsman the power to investigate patient complaints will not immediately fix the system, but it will give us the ABILITY to make changes. Ombudsman oversight offers opportunities: to create a culture of accountability, to achieve measurable results, and to help us advocate for reform.
Once we get that Ombudsman oversight, many challenges will remain: to ensure that the Office makes the analyzed data public, that investigations are fair and effective, and that recommendations are implemented and changes measured. There are many steps on the journey to safe, quality, patient-focused care. Let's get going.