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  E. Measuring Quality Hospital Care in Terms of Patient Outcomes

Narrator: This is Science Today. The University of California, San Francisco will lead a two-year study measuring nursing quality in hospitals. Mary Blegen, director of the Center for Patient Safety in the UCSF School of Nursing, says there have been a number of research studies in recent years looking at the effects of nurse staffing levels, how many registered nurses are in hospitals and the safety and equality of patient care.

Blegen: Each of those studies had used different measures and different ways of analyzing this and so the resulting research has had a lot of inconsistency in it. And so what this project will do, it's using some of the better data that anyone has had access to. But it's still addressing that question of, “if a patient care unit has more registered nurses on it, is the patient outcome and care on that unite better than it would be otherwise?"

Narrator: Blegen's team will measure quality hospital care in terms of outcomes, indicators of how well patients fare and whether they suffer complications of their care. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.