Hospitals See Significant Rise in Quality of Care Measures

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Based on 2013 data, an annual report from the Joint Commission on hospitals’ performance to increase the safety and quality of care finds 1,224 hospitals were top performers in 2014. That is an 11 percent increase from last year.

“Now, 36.9  percent of all Joint Commission accredited hospitals reporting accountability measure performance data for 2013 are Top Performer hospitals—the highest percentage achieving Top Performer status ever,” according to the report. All sizes and types of hospital are represented among the top tier.

In 2014, the Joint Commission increased from four to six selected core measures on which hospitals will be required to submit data and 44 Top Performers took early steps and reported on five or more of the measures in their 2013 data.

Hospitals with regularity are hitting performance levels of at least 95 percent on many measures, a process that has taken many years and still with “a long way to go,” according to the commission. “A 95 percent score means a hospital provided an evidence-based practice 95 times out of every 100 opportunities to provide the practice. Each accountability measure represents an evidence-based practice—for example, giving aspirin at arrival for heart attack patients, giving antibiotics one hour before surgery and providing a home management plan for children with asthma.”

Accredited hospitals in recent years have significantly improved the quality of care provided to patients being treated for heart attack, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma care, inpatient psychiatric, venous thromboembolism, stroke and immunizations, according to the Joint Commission.

However, the percentage of hospitals hitting composite rates more than 95 percent actually dropped slightly in 2013 compared with the previous year. “This decline is primarily due to the addition of the perinatal care accountability measure set, on which only 5.6 percent of hospitals achieved composite rates of more than 95 percent,” according to the report. “The result of the accountability measure for exclusive breast milk feeding, considering the mother’s choice (69.2 percent) was the main factor lowering the perinatal care composite result. There is much room for improvement on this and other perinatal measures, which more hospitals will be required to report next year.”

Below the top performing hospitals were another 718 hospitals that missed the 95 percent mark on only one measure, meaning many of these facilities are on track toward achieving the top spot next year. That’s because in 2013, using 2012 data, 673 hospitals were on track and 38 percent of them this year became top performers.

Overall, more than 3,300 hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission submitted data. The 2014 annual report on hospital quality and safety is available here.


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