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February 19, 2013

Creating a Culture of Quality with Core Measures

Hospitals nationwide are continually striving to find better ways to improve quality of patient care and to encourage effective quality improvement strategies. It’s no surprise that the best performing hospitals have a strong and extensive commitment to their strategy – a readiness to invest in first-rate, experienced staff, specific best practice processes and procedures, and the necessary tools and equipment to provide high quality patient care.  They also have a facility-wide responsibility to determine any and all sources of quality issues and to find solutions.

In this offering of Off the Shelf, we discuss the importance of your hospital’s strategy and how it plays a part in producing optimal core measure scores.

The Importance of Core Measures
Why Are My Hospital’s Core Measures Low?
Taking Action & How to Improve Scores
Benefits to a Focus on Quality and Core Measures

Having an Effective Strategy

Key components of an effective strategy include:

  • Develop a hospital culture in which quality will thrive
  • Attract and train right people who will engage in and be committed to quality
  • Develop effective and efficient processes for quality enhancement
  • Provide staff members with the tools needed to accomplish their work
The Importance of Core Measures

In looking at improvement initiatives to tackle, some of the biggest opportunities may be in a hospital’s core measure scores involving clinical care for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care. After all, hospitals with better core measures scores and adherence to standards receive better reimbursements from CMS and other payors. In turn, with higher reimbursements, organizations can invest in high quality equipment and provide optimal staffing, which can enhance patient care and services.

Why are my Hospital's Core Measures Low?
  • Lack of staff focus and/or education about core measures and its positive impact on patient care
  • Staff and Physicians may be focused on other hospital initiatives
  • Indifference to many standards including core measures
  • Strict concentration on Joint Commission readiness
  • Inappropriately staffed departments leading to noncompliance with processes/procedures
Taking Action & How to Improve Scores  
  • Full staff collaboration and participation is a must when it comes to streamlining processes identified for improvement by nurses and physicians.
  • Conduct monthly Clinical Performance Improvement Committee (CPIC) Meetings.  Physicians, Nurses, Case Managers, Pharmacists, and other clinical team members should be invited and encouraged to develop process improvement strategies related to core measures.  Work to determine systemic vs. individual issues, implement solutions for issues, and assign responsibilities for following up on progress.
  • Consistently and routinely publicize all scores; Don’t just publicize the scores when they are good.  Emphasize areas of biggest opportunity each month so staff will have a goal in mind.
  • Set goals along the way that ultimately lead to the final result desired.  Celebrate achievements and progress!
  • Continue to educate and reinforce core measure standards with physicians and staff to keep them aware of any changes.
Benefits to a Focus on Quality & Core Measures
  • Decreased operating costs through effective and efficient practices
  • Shorter lengths of stay
  • Improved patient satisfaction
  • Adherence to regulatory/accreditation requirements
  • Strong facility-wide commitment to providing quality patient care

Success is evident in the results.  You will demonstrate compliance with the standards and core measures, you will achieve your goals as evidenced by your scores, and you will receive better reimbursements to reinvest in your organziation and to continue to enhance your services.

Soyring's Solution

Need assistance in your hospital or department?  Know you have a issues, but not sure where to start? Contact Us.

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