Real Numbers Tell Real Stories in Health Services Management
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In the words of one hospital manager, "hospital data is currently indigestible and alien to the average user." Drawing upon the experience of an academic hospital that, contrary to established practice, published real numbers alongside rates and ratios during a Clostridium difficile outbreak, the authors examined the pitfalls of publishing only abstract performance measures and the advantages of releasing real numbers to the public. This article identifies lessons for hospital board governance, media relations, employee communications, and citizen and patient engagement that are applicable across the healthcare industry in many countries. If healthcare is to be a caring industry, then care should be taken in the public reporting of data and information.
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