Intended for healthcare professionals

Making a Difference

Making a Difference sought to identify what "improving outcomes for patients" meant to the publishers of The BMJ. This was a question asked of The BMJ in 2007 by Don Berwick, then president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, Massachussetts. Don wanted to know which outcomes, what patients, and how much improvement.

Readers helped the jourrnal to identify which issues to tackle among the many millions of pressing healthcare challenges facing the world. A team of editors harvested more than 200 ideas from article rapid responses and matched them against the priorities of national and international bodies which, with the help of an expert panel, was cut down to six ideas.

These were:

  • Adverse drug reactions in older people
  • Community acquired resistant infection in the developing world
  • Chronic pain management
  • Excessive alcohol intake in young women
  • Palliative care in conditions other than cancer
  • Multiple morbidity in older people

Readers were asked to vote in an online poll which health project would make the greatest difference to healthcare. These were the results:

Palliative care for all at the end of life: 1552 votes (38%)
Combating drug resistant infections in poor countries: 879 votes (22%)
Better care for the elderly with multiple health problems: 686 votes (17%) Improving chronic pain management: 487 (12%)
Reducing excessive drinking in young women: 331 votes (8%)
Helping to reduce adverse drug reactions in elderly patients: 111 votes (3%)

The topics formed part of an article series. You can access it below.

See also: