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Blue Cross patient initiative

Excerpts from the Globe's blog on the Boston-area medical community.

A new organization funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts is planning a multi-year patient safety initiative directed at consumers. The Partnership for Healthcare Excellence, a coalition that includes consumer groups, doctors and nurses, and business organizations, expects to launch an advertising campaign this year that encourages patients to play a bigger role in improving the quality of medical care.

The campaign, which will include print ads, a website, and direct mail, will provide information about variations in health care quality among different hospitals, and advice for patients on how to prepare for a safe stay in the hospital by asking questions about hospital procedures.

Blue Cross, the state's largest health insurer, donated more than $1 million to start the group.

LIZ KOWALCZYK

Center honors Dukakis
A new women's shelter in Jamaica Plain was named Friday in honor of former Massachusetts first lady Kitty Dukakis for her work to open a shelter 24 years ago and for her personal advocacy since then.

The Kitty Dukakis Treatment Center for Women is a 32-bed center at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital for women who have gone through detox but are in the early stages of recovering from addiction. The center opened in January and is expected to treat 300 women a year. Its 28-day program includes counseling on substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and HIV.

ELIZABETH COONEY

BIDMC wins safety award
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has won a national safety and quality award from The National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission for the changes it made in its obstetrics department after the death of a newborn in 2000.

The hospital borrowed principles from military and commercial aviation to reduce judgment errors and miscommunication. By its own measure, adverse outcomes fell by 25.4 percent and the severity of these events dropped by 13.4 percent after the new approach was adopted, according to the Joint Commission statement announcing the award.

ELIZABETH COONEY

Five hospitals recognized
Five Massachusetts hospitals have received top honors from The Leapfrog Group, a national coalition of employers based in Washington, D.C., that promotes patient safety. Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Lahey Clinic in Burlington, and Massachusetts General Hospital are among 33 Leapfrog top hospitals for 2007.

The Leapfrog Group said these hospitals have the best records for implementing measures to improve the safety and quality of medical care.

LIZ KOWALCZYK

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