• 500 Eldorado Blvd. Suite 4300 Broomfield, CO 80021
  • 303-813-5190

Quality Denominators

August 25, 2009
Hospitals & Health Networks Magazine Quality Denominators By Jeffrey D. Selberg Lessons from the three honorees of this year's AHA—McKesson Quest for Quality Prize This is the fifth year that the AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® has recognized hospitals for achievement in pursuing the six Institute of Medicine quality aims—effectiveness, efficiency, safety, timeliness, patient-centeredness and equity. Looking back, it's clear that the field has made tremendous progress, but there is still much to achieve. The 2009 honorees were very different in how they approached their quality journeys, but they shared a number of characteristics that contributed to their strong results. Key learnings from the three honorees: Transparency and openness change everything for the better. And transparency inside the organization leads to open communication with the media and community. Transparency about challenges and plans to address them, about errors and how they're being addressed and will be prevented in the future, and about strengths and weaknesses changes organizational culture. Trust, teamwork and innovation all begin to flourish. Patient- and family-centeredness is about more than involving patients and families in decisions about care or getting community perspectives on remodeling. It's about involving patients and families in hospital processes and committees, giving them a voice and a role in continuing education for caregivers, and making them full partners of the hospital and staff. Visible and active engagement is vital and needs to be top-down and bottom-up. The goal is to create a line of sight from the bedside to the boardroom and from the boardroom to the bedside. It's great when the board discusses in-depth the latest quality indicators, but when trustees are involved in quality improvement and patient safety—working with staff on committees and projects—they send a powerful message. Just as critical is ensuring that front-line caregivers are actively engaged not only in implementing new initiatives, but also in identifying and developing them. Patient safety requires a constant focus and vigilance—it doesn't happen automatically with efficiencies or new technologies. Moving from the concept of "no blame" to a "just" culture is an important step in taking patient safety to the next level. Addressing racial and ethnic disparities requires an understanding of the community and your hospital's patients. Tracking race and ethnicity is an important start to addressing equity. While creativity and innovation are hallmarks of hospitals making progress on the six quality aims, reinventing the wheel is not. Learning from the lessons of others, continually seeking information on how others are solving a problem, and adapting and applying promising solutions is frequently the best route. The AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® Committee congratulates the 2009 winner, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo City, Mich.; the 2009 finalist, Beth Israel Medical Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; and the 2009 Citation of Merit honoree, Duke University Hospital, Durham, N.C. For more information on their quality journeys, visit www.aha.org/questforquality. Jeffrey D. Selberg, president and CEO of Exempla Healthcare, Denver, is chairman of the AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize Committee. You can contact our guest author at selbergj@exempla.org. This article 1st appeared in the August 2009 issue of HHN Magazine.