Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: Health Care Quality and Safety

Tough Questions and Creative Thinking in Times of Crisis

By Katie Delach | December 5, 2016 | Comments 6a015436487e09970c01bb095be407970d-500wi

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video on Flickr “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” The famous line adapted from poet Robert Burns’s To a Mouse conveys the likelihood of unexpected changes in even the most detailed and carefully planned projects. While the phrase might... Read more

How to Run a "Safety Net" Health System

By John Shea | September 16, 2016 | Comments image from

Accompanied by her family, Patricia Gabow holds her Distinguished Graduate Award. By now, Patricia A. Gabow, MD 1969, GME 1973, is probably used to standing out in a crowd. As a student in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, she was one of only six women to graduate in... Read more

Radiation Safety: A Constant Vigilance

By Sally Sapega | September 14, 2016 | Comments image from

When German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered x-rays in 1895, it was clearly groundbreaking. Less than a year later, three doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (J. William White, chief of surgery; Charles Lester Leonard, HUP’s first radiologist; and physicist Arthur Goodspeed) published an article describing the many... Read more

Giving Health Care a “Nudge” In the Right Direction

By Katie Delach | May 23, 2016 | Comments image from

In his book “Nudge,” University of Chicago behavioral economics expert Richard Thaler describes how “small interventions in the environment or incentives can encourage people to make better decisions.” Decision-making of any kind is heavily influenced by how choices are presented and information is framed. While the basic principles of nudge... Read more

Not Your Mom’s Health Care

By Katie Delach | March 28, 2016 | Comments Pitch

“What we heard today… it’s not what people think of when they think about the pace of health care.” That was Roy Rosin, MBA, chief innovation officer at Penn Medicine, who earlier this month gave closing remarks at a unique event in which eight teams of health care professionals from... Read more

Can U.S. Health Care Be Improved?

By John Shea | November 6, 2015 | Comments 6DF89413F33043C086B85362A4D02562

David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, did not mince words. “Fundamentally dysfunctional”: that was how he described U.S. health care today. On the financial side, unnecessary and wasteful spending still runs to billions of dollars. Comparing the costs of health care in other nations, Blumenthal said, with dry irony, “We win this... Read more

Do We Have a Right to Health Care in the U.S.?

By Anna Duerr | June 29, 2015 | Comments image from

The United States Constitution provides for a variety of rights — from bearing arms to free speech — but what about a right to health care? Nope, that’s not one of them. And while the Supreme Court has found rights to privacy, to bodily integrity, to refuse medical care and... Read more

A “Hardy Perennial” View of Conflict of Interest

By Karen Kreeger | June 12, 2015 | Comments Conflict of interest E Pluribus

Perennials and hope spring eternal. And so it seems does the debate over conflict of interest in academia. The latest deliberations took place last week in the pages of two of the world’s most prestigious medical journals. Three former New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) editors commented in a British... Read more

When Sentiment Overcomes Reason

By Olivia Fermano | December 23, 2014 | Comments Mehta-Rima

We humans, we’re definitely a sentimental lot. Some might even argue that is one of the key traits that separate us from other animals – our desire to acquire mementos of life’s experiences. We sure do treasure our keepsakes, those tangible tokens of endearment to commemorate a special time, person... Read more

An Approach to Enhancing Health Care Quality

By John Shea | December 4, 2014 | Comments image from

In the last decade, quality improvement and patient safety have risen very high among the priorities facing caregivers in the United States – and at Penn Medicine itself. The problem, as articulated in a recent article in Academic Medicine, is that even after national reports have noted the critical need... Read more

The Force from Outside In: Cells Sense Surrounding Protein Stiffness for Insider Info

By Karen Kreeger | July 11, 2014 | Comments Assoian Bae blog post image final July 14

A new study is shedding light on how cells respond to surrounding “stiff” tissue that can influence cells to go rogue—and ultimately cause disease. A better understanding of that process could help advance the development of treatments for cancers and cardiovascular disease resistant to therapy. An article in Science Signaling... Read more

Leape's Conclusion: Health Care's "Culture of Disrespect"

By John Shea | April 18, 2014 | Comments image from

Lucian Leape, MD There are not many people who could address a gathering of medical professionals associated with one of the most highly regarded academic health systems in the country and talk to them about their part in a pervasive “culture of disrespect.” Talk to them, that is, and not... Read more

More Photos from Around Penn Medicine

By Robert Press | April 14, 2014 | Comments

In late February, Penn Medicine’s Heart and Vascular Center joined forces with the City of Philadelphia to wrap up American Heart Month by offering free cardiovascular screenings for city employees. The screenings, which included blood pressure screenings, cardiac risk assessments, peripheral vascular screening and abdominal aortic aneurysm screens, are preventive... Read more

The “Other”Circulatory System

By Karen Kreeger | January 10, 2014 | Comments Kahn JCI image graphic Jan 14

Blood is the life force of animals. But behind the more well-known system of veins, arteries, and capillaries functions the mop-up crew, the vascular network called the lymph system. Read more

Do Patients Really Understand? The Push to Eliminate Health Illiteracy

By Sally Sapega | October 4, 2013 | Comments Health_literacy

Inadequate health literacy is a significant concern in today’s health-care environment. Indeed, more than one-third of Americans don’t understand the basic medical information that’s needed to make informed health-care decisions. This knowledge gap can have serious repercussions: poor medication adherence, increased mortality, and increased hospital readmissions and trips to the... Read more

Closing the Loop on Medication Safety

By Sally Sapega | September 3, 2013 | Comments

In a hospital, errors can occur in any part of the medication process – from prescribing to dispensing. That’s why, for the past several years, the University of Pennsylvania Health System has implemented several measures to help reduce these errors and ensure patient safety. For example, Electronic order entry on... Read more

Breaking Down the Barriers to Medication Adherence

By Sally Sapega | July 12, 2013 | Comments MPP 003

“Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” — C. Everett Koop, MD Medication non-adherence -– ie, not taking essential medications or not taking them as prescribed -– can lead to serious outcomes and, as a result, readmissions to hospitals. Indeed, in this country, nearly one in five hospital... Read more

An Important Early Lesson for Tomorrow’s Health-Care Providers

By Sally Sapega | June 19, 2013 | Comments

Team work. It’s a part of all successful organizations. But nowhere is this combined effort more essential than in the medical field, where health-care professionals working as a team -- instead of in side-by-side silos -– open lines of communication and, as a result, improve patient care. Throughout the University... Read more

Emotional First Aid for 'Second Victims'

By Sally Sapega | April 19, 2013 | Comments Second victim photo

A trauma nurse faces the tragic loss of a young patient close to his own son’s age. A transporter must bring an infant who died in the Neo-ICU down to the morgue. A pharmacist hears that his patient had an anaphylactic reaction to a medication. He discovers the medication allergy... Read more

Penn to Celebrate Big Ideas in Science at the 3rd Annual Philadelphia Science Festival

By Karen Kreeger | April 16, 2013 | Comments PSF logo 2013

Penn’s signature event at the 3rd annual Philadelphia Science Festival next week is a sure sign of the times. “Big Ideas: Funding and Innovation” draws on current themes and reminders of where the bright ideas really come from.

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