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Overall, hospitals participating in the Tennessee Surgical Quality Collaborative saved almost $2.2 million per 10,000 general and vascular procedures, according to the study published online http://www.journalacs.org/article/S1072-7515(11)01328-7/abstract in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The reason for their success? Frank discussion, say the researchers. Hospitals stopped clinging to their data and instead used a lifeline: They compared results and evaluated best practices and PI approaches with each other. Sort of the hospital version of “phone a friend.” The collaborative is part of the ACS’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP). Two measures from this initiative, surgical site infections and urinary tract infections, have been endorsed by the National Quality Forum.
CMS also recently announced the ACS NSQIP Hospital Compare pilot using three measures the NQF previously endorsed: elderly surgery outcomes, colectomy outcomes, and lower-extremity bypass outcomes. It’s a first: Hospitals have the opportunity to report surgical outcomes to Hospital Compare, the CMS web site that provides information to consumers. Everyone will be able to read that data beginning in October.
Quality improvement isn’t anything new for hospitals. In fact, three out of four winners of the recently announced Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award are hospitals and healthcare systems: Henry Ford Health System of Detroit, Schneck Medical Center of Seymour, IN, and the Southcentral Foundation of Anchorage. In a time when healthcare headlines often are dismal, we applaud you!
And QI efforts aren’t going to stop anytime soon. The AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust, under a contract http://www.hret.org/news/resources/HEC-grant-press-release-12-15-11.pdf with CMS’ Partnership for Patients campaign, is working with 33 state hospital associations – that’s almost 2,000 hospitals -- on adopting best practices. The AHA says these best practices can reduce inpatient harm by 40% and readmissions by 20%. That’s good news, considering that CMS is rolling out new initiatives to base hospital payments on value as well as volume.
With all of these initiatives, should we expect to see a few more millionaires coming forth in the healthcare field? We predict yes. And that’s our final answer.
In an update to my Jan. 24 blog, http://hospitalreport.blogs.ahcmedia.com/2012/01/24/don%e2%80%99t-throw-out-the-baby-with-the-bathwater-and-other-economic-advice/ The Coalition to Protect America's Health Care has launched a TV ad www.protecthealthcare.org again asking Congress not to cut Medicare and Medicaid funds for hospitals. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.