Independent Thinking Blog

6 Reasons to Pay Attention to

I received a great news release this morning from the Department of Health and Human Services. The headline:¬†Secretary Sebelius Releases Inaugural Health Care “Success Story” Report.

Here are 6 reasons this resonated with me and should matter to you too:

1. The administration has a Web site. From a transparency perspective alone, this is really important.

2. The last time someone tried to do comprehensive reform, it was drafted in secret meetings and without participation from most stakeholders. This time, the adminstration is asking citizens to share our thoughts.

3. HHS just posted a “Success Story.” When was the last time you heard the federal government provide concrete, data-driven examples in simple English?

4. While the government supports a huge amount of great research in the health care sector, agencies have been notoriously bad at disseminating results outside of a narrow band of researchers. This time, they’re talking about “improving quality of care” and “a success story for patient safety.” Who doesn’t understand that?

5. The project, a Michigan initiative to reduce hospital infections, is pretty compelling. And HHS does a great job of explaining why this matters to us:

The Keystone Project is more than the story of a simple tool like the checklist making a dramatic impact. It is the story of complex organizational change across an entire state changing the attitudes and practices of doctors and nurses, creating incentives for cooperation, partnering with the state hospital association, and creating a social network amongst participating hospitals in Michigan to share best practices.


When I first heard about the project last fall, I vowed that I’d never walk into a hospital room again without a big bottle of Purell and an even-bigger box of disinfecting wipes.

6. I want to know more, and I’m waiting for the next success stories to be posted. And hoping this becomes a new trend in how federal agencies communicate what they do and why we should pay attention and care.

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