When I was asked to register for the IHI/BMJ International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare I was a bit concerned. Being a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in a small non-profit hospital in Delhi, I wondered whether the conference would be applicable for our setting because many of the topics seemed related to public health.
Sixty-four different sites – many with high rates of child poverty and complex long-term conditions; high proportion of ethnic minorities; 14 care-commissioning groups who demand different quality metrics; and a focus on mental health and community care – not the most remunerative areas in healthcare.
I skipped breakfast and arrived a good half-hour earlier than the scheduled start time, not wanting to risk being late for my first WHO Expert Consultation. When I had received the invitation to participate in developing a framework for Patient and Family engagement several weeks ago, I remember feeling honored. I was excited by the prospect of making a contribution at a global level and developing new relationships that could help our hospital continue along our journey of improving safety and transparency (see my earlier blog posts on the start of our safety journey and on disclosing our caesarean section rate).
“I have greater assurance about product quality and service quality when I walk into a Sagar for a snack than when I go into a hospital!” (Sagar is a chain of restaurants in Delhi best known for serving South Indian food.) I have often said this to our consultants and managers to illustrate the unacceptably low levels of reliability in most healthcare delivery encounters – including at our hospital.