As reported by Reuters Health on May 08, 2001, according to the results of a national survey released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, more than 70% of healthcare professionals believe that fundamental changes to the US healthcare system are needed to improve the quality of care delivered to patients. Even more drastic, another 11% of survey respondents said the system's quality flaws are so deep that a complete overhaul is needed to remedy them.
In the study, researchers asked 600 doctors, 400 nurses and 200 top-level hospital executives from around the nation about the quality of healthcare. They wanted to know if the professionals considered healthcare safe, effective, timely, patient-centered, efficient and equitable. In response 58% of those asked said that the quality of the US healthcare system is good or fair, while 2% said it is poor and forty-two percent said that the system had very good or excellent quality.
David Richardson, the executive vice president of Wirthin Worldwide, a New York-based research firm that conducted the survey said, "In almost any industry, this lukewarm self-assessment would be seen as a sign of serious shortcomings."
This issue became headline news in November 1999 when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report blaming medical errors for up to 98,000 deaths per year. Donald M. Berwick, the president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement said, "Healthcare is in trouble. The quality is not what we need it to be and people in healthcare know that."