Survey Finds Quality of U.S. Health Care Lacking

According to new survey results released by the Princeton, New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, health-care providers and administrators believe the quality of health care in America needs to be dramatically improved.

The nationwide survey of more than one thousand health-care professionals found that more than half (58 percent) of those surveyed think health care in the U.S. is not very good, while an eye-opening 95 percent of physicians surveyed reported that they had witnessed a "serious" medical error. The need for change is apparent to health-care providers, with four out of five saying they believed fundamental changes in the system are needed.

The results of the survey were announced during a news conference to formally launch "Pursuing Perfection: Raising the Bar for Health-Care Performance," a new $20.9 million initiative funded by the foundation and managed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The goal of the initiative is to help hospital and physician organizations dramatically improve the quality of health care by pursuing perfection in all of their major health-care processes.

"Compared with other industries, the expectation for health-care quality is very low," said RWJF executive vice president Lewis G. Sandy, MD. "We have intentionally set the bar high for this initiative. 'Pursuing Perfection' may sound idealistic, but we believe it is possible to make dramatic and momentous improvements on a systemwide basis."

To view a Powerpoint presentation of the "Pursuing Perfection" results, visit:

"U.S. Health Care Providers Say Quality of Care is 'Unacceptable" Robert Wood Johnson Press Release 05/08/2001.