America’s Hospitals Continue to Improve Patient Care

America’s hospitals continue to make strides towards improving patient safety and quality for common conditions for which people enter the hospital, according to The Joint Commission’s 2016 Annual Report: “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” as noted in a press release.

The report presents information on how well more than 3,300 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals performed on individual measures of patient care during 2015. Measures covered in the report relate to children’s asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, venous thromboembolism (VTE) care, stroke care, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco use treatment, and substance use care.

The Joint Commission chose the measures for reporting because they provide concrete data about the types of treatment or practices for common conditions for which people enter the hospital and seek care. Reporting the data is a requirement of Joint Commission accreditation for most hospitals.

In conjunction with the report, The Joint Commission recognized 39 Pioneers in Quality™ hospitals at the forefront of a new era in health care quality reporting—one in which hospitals collect information on the quality of patient care through electronic health records, and report the data to The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). To be recognized as a 2016 Pioneers in Quality™ organization, a hospital was required to meet criteria in at least one of three categories of participation with The Joint Commission:

  • Expert Contributor: Advancing the evolution and utilization of electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) through contributions such as presenting at a Pioneers in Quality™ webinar or participating in eCQM development during 2016.
  • Solution Contributor: Submitting an eCQM solution or implementation story to The Joint Commission’sCore Measure Solution Exchange®, a quality improvement tool that promotes the sharing of performance measurement successes among accredited hospitals.
  • Data Contributor: Voluntarily transmitting 2015 eCQM data during 2016.

“The results featured in The Joint Commission’s 2016 Annual Report are important because they show that accredited hospitals have continued to improve the quality of the care they provide, and the data that hospitals collect help them identify opportunities for further improvement,” said Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission.

“The results also show it’s important to note that where a patient receives care makes a difference. Some hospitals perform better than others in treating particular conditions.”

For 2015, The Joint Commission required most accredited hospitals to select six measure sets for reporting. Hospitals chose sets best reflecting their patient populations and the services they provide, and reported on all applicable measures in each set. Hospitals submitted monthly data on a quarterly basis; the data is reported to the public on The Joint Commission’s Quality Check® website.

Of the 33 measures described in the Joint Commission report, 29 are accountability measures, focused on evidence-based care processes that are closely linked to positive patient outcomes. The measures are relevant for accreditation, public reporting, and pay-for-performance programs that hold providers accountable to external oversight entities and the public for their performances.

According to the report, performance on accountability measures among hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission continues to improve and greatly enhance the quality of care provided.

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