Hospital Quality Information Available to the Public
June 10, 2008
Kishwaukee and Valley West community hospitals are participating in national initiatives to make quality and patient safety information more available to the public.
“While public reporting of hospital quality data is new, our hospitals have been monitoring, measuring and working to maintain and improve our quality indicator measures for years,” said Pamela Duffy, vice president of Patient Care Services and the Medical Staff Office.
“We constantly use this information to enhance our processes. Documenting and trending results is a major function of the hospital, requiring a number of clinical professionals whose jobs are solely dedicated to clinical quality and education. Quality improvement is integrated into our everyday work,” Duffy said.
Quality data has been routinely reported to the KishHealth System Board of Directors for a number of years.
“The board reviews this information regularly. We’re very proud of the staff’s attention to quality in our hospitals and their constant effort to always be better,” said Mary Lynn McArtor, RN, chair of the board’s Patient Affairs Committee.
Mike Cullen, KHS board chair, said the board also is very supportive of making information available to the public. “This information helps the public have the same confidence in our hospitals as board members do.”
Hospitals have always been required to report quality and safety data to state and federal regulatory agencies as well as The Joint Commission, a non-government agency that accredits hospitals and establishes national healthcare standards.
In the past year, The Joint Commission and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agencies have made the following data available to the public online at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.
Core measures. The Joint Commission and CMS provide organizations with standardized performance measures that have been shown to improve patient outcomes, reduce the risk of complications and prevent recurrences in the majority of hospital patients with similar conditions. There are 27 core measures in four categories: heart attack, patients admitted with pneumonia (community-acquired pneumonia), congestive heart failure, and surgical care infection prevention.
HCAHPS Survey. HCAHPS stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers. CMS now requires hospitals to send a survey to Medicare inpatients. The goal is to utilize a nationally standardized instrument to measure patients’ perception of their care.
KCH and VWCH have redesigned its patient satisfaction surveys to include the HCAHPS questions. That data, along with other patient satisfaction data, help drive service, clinical and operational excellence.
Quality Check. The Joint Commission provides data on hospitals that cover information about accreditation status and National Patient Safety Goals compliance, in addition to the core measures listed above. This data can be accessed at www.jointcommission.org.
KCH and VWCH go even further in improving patient care with the following initiatives.
Patient Satisfaction Survey. A Patient Satisfaction survey is mailed to inpatients, outpatients, Ambulatory (day) Surgery and Emergency Department patients. It is administered by Press Ganey, the industry leader. nPress Ganey collects and analyzes the results and compares those results to hundreds of participating hospitals across the country. KCH and VWCH use the data from patient satisfaction surveys to make improvements and acknowledge processes and service that make a difference in patients’ experiences.
Five Million Lives Campaign. Both hospitals are participating in this initiative of the national Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which prescribes proven processes for improving patient care, preventing errors and saving lives.