Quality Standards Ensure Patient Safety
Washington Hospital Focuses on Exceeding Core Measures
When you walk into a hospital, you want to know you or your loved one will receive the highest quality care possible. Washington Hospital continues to meet or exceed quality measures set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS core quality measures are based on established quality improvement principles and measure how well a set of diagnoses are treated.
“Everyone in health care wants to provide the best care possible to each patient every time he or she is admitted to the hospital,” said Barbara Eusebio, associate administrator of Quality and Resource Management at Washington Hospital. “The CMS core quality measures offer a uniform way for hospitals to measure and report on the quality of care they provide.”
The core measures are also an evaluation tool for Washington Hospital administrators and ultimately the Board of Directors, charged with assuring quality care, to determine how well the hospital is performing and whether changes need to be made in existing policies and practices to improve the quality of care.
“We operate in a culture of continued quality improvement,” Eusebio added. “Washington Hospital has a multidisciplinary team led by physicians who are striving for 100 percent compliance on all measures. We are continually reviewing treatment plans to determine whether practices are in place to meet the highest standards of care.”
The five core diagnoses include heart failure, heart attack or acute myocardial infarction, pneumonia, stroke, and surgical care. These diagnoses affect large numbers of people and are associated with high costs and increased rates of morbidity and mortality, according to Eusebio.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is not working to full capacity and can’t supply the cells with enough blood. Every year heart failure accounts for nearly 600,000 hospitalizations, she said.
A heart attack happens when the flow of blood to a section of the heart suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can't get enough oxygen. Heart attacks are a leading killer of both men and women in the United States. According to Eusebio, about 1.1 million Americans have a heart attack every year, and two out of three of those don’t make a full recovery.
Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that can restrict the ability to breathe. Most people recover from it, but pneumonia can be deadly for babies and older adults. Eusebio said pneumonia accounts for nearly 600,000 hospitalizations and 500,000 emergency room visits among Medicare patients each year.
With a stroke, the flow of blood to the brain is obstructed either by a blockage in an artery or a breakage in a blood vessel. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability in adults, according to the American Stroke Association.
Surgical care measures are focused on reducing complications from surgery such as infection. About 500,000 surgical site infections occur in the United States each year, according to Eusebio. Patients who get an infection are 60 percent more likely to go to the Intensive Care Unit after surgery and five times more likely to be readmitted for further care, she added.
“Quality care is the top priority at Washington Hospital,” Eusebio concluded. “To ensure that the hospital is offering the highest quality of care possible, we must continue to evaluate how we are doing and modify our care practices to improve on that quality. There is always room for improvement. We can never be complacent when it comes to the care and safety of our patients.”
For information about Washington Hospital and its quality initiatives, visit www.whhs.com/quality.