New Jersey Department of Health released its 10th Annual Report on the quality of care in New Jersey Hospital (Hospital Performance Report – A Consumer Report New Jersey 2012 Data). The three different types of measure sets in this report identify the success or failure of different aspects of quality hospital care: recommended care measures; patient safety indicators (PSIs); and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The Department has added two new measures: Heart Attack (AMI) measure for Recommended Care: statins prescribed at discharge; and HAI measure: Surgical Site Infections (SSI) following colon surgery.
U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Hospitals, released the new Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings which cover nearly every hospital in the country and evaluate each one in five common surgical procedures and medical conditions that account for millions of hospitalizations a year. U.S. News new ratings help patients see how hospitals in its community rates in three common operations – heart bypass, hip replacement and knee replacement – and two widespread chronic conditions – congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. A hospital may be rated as “High Performing,” “Average” or “Below Average.” Approximately 90 percent of the hospitals rated in each condition or procedure were High Performing or Average. Hospitals were not rated in a procedure or condition if they treated too few patients of that type for U.S. News to conduct a rigorous statistical analysis.
Severe sepsis causes hospital readmissions at a rate comparable to more commonly addressed conditions such as pneumonia and heart failure, according to a study presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference, writes Fierce Healthcare. While previous research has analyzed quality measures associated with sepsis, such as length of stay, researchers (led by Darya Rudym, M.D., of New York University School of Medicine) sought to specifically analyze its effect on 30-day readmission rates. Analyzing inpatient discharge and readmission data from New York City’s Bellevue Hospital from July 2011 to July 2014, researchers monitored 22,712 discharges; more than 15 percent, or 3,477, were readmitted within 30 days. Using three different reporting methods for severe sepsis identification, they identified 1,801, 798 and 579 discharges, respectively, among the discharges. Of those, they found 266 (14.77 percent), 119 (14.91 percent) and 71 (12.26 percent) readmitted within 30 days, respectively.
Patients want to receive health care that is of the highest quality. Physicians want to provide it. But what is “high quality health care?” writes Forbes.com. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), a highly regarded independent organization established by Congress to advise on health care issues – the gold standard on improving our nation’s health – last month released a report. “Vital Signs: Core Metrics for Health and Health Care Progress.” The IOM panel of experts identified 15 measures, narrowed down from hundreds, with the best potential for improving health, including reducing the overall rate of preventable deaths.The consensus: if the U.S. systematically raises its performance in each of these 15 domains, the quality of life for millions would improve dramatically. Forbes.com contributor recommends focusing on the seven that relate to direct health care delivery and better care for patients – Overweight and obesity; Addictive behaviors; Preventive services; Patient safety; Unintended pregnancy; Access to care; Evidence-based care.
- How to deliver true quality, Forbes.com
- Vital Signs – Core Metrics for Health and Health Care Progress, Institute of Medicine (PDF)
AHA News writes: The number of patients treated for mental disorders grew by 14 million between 2002 and 2012, while expenditures for mental disorders grew by $25 billion, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. That’s a larger increase in cases and expenditures than for heart disease, cancer or any of the other top five costliest conditions, the report indicates. The five most costly conditions in 2012, from most to least, were heart conditions, trauma-related disorders, cancer, mental disorders, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease/asthma, the same as in 2002. For people with expenses for these conditions, the average expenditure per person was highest for cancer ($5,631) and heart conditions ($4,349). About 45.2 million people had expenses for mental disorders in 2012, slightly more than for COPD/asthma and more than for any of the other conditions. The estimates are based on data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, co-sponsored by AHRQ and the National Center for Health Statistics. Additional reports look at the costliest conditions for children and adults. To access the reports, visit meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb.
An analysis by US News & World Report found that thousands of U.S. medical centers patients face a greater risk of death and complications because their surgical teams do too few procedures, even common ones, for doctors, nurses and technicians to maintain their skills. These large numbers of low-volume hospitals, the analysis found, continue to put patients at higher risk even after three decades of published research have demonstrated that patients are more likely to die or suffer complications when treated by doctors who only occasionally see similar patients rather than by experienced teams at hospitals with more patients and established protocols.
Read more: Risks Are High at Low-Volume Hospitals
iHealthbeat writes: HHS this summer plans to launch an updated version of HealthData.gov to improve the usability of its datasets. The database, launched under President Obama’s open government initiative in 2011, contains more than 1,900 datasets on health issues. According to HHS Health Data Initiative Director Damon Davis, HHS’ IDEA Lab will assist in developing new tools for the data portal. He said the update is intended to provide users with more data in machine-readable formats and facilitate data sharing and collaboration within HHS and with outside experts. Read more
Government Health IT writes: The use of electronic clinical quality measures (eCQM) for reporting data will be “invaluable” for monitoring numerous clinical conditions, according to research published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidly and Mortality Weekly Report.The report used eCQM data that was submitted by 63,000 health care providers to the Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program to be analyzed to assess progress in achieving blood pressure control among their patients with hypertension. It found that 62 percent of patients with hypertension achieved controlled blood pressure throughout three reporting years of 2011-2013. Read more
Health Leaders Media writes: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plans to expand reporting of certain hospital-acquired infections beyond ICUs in an effort to reduce confusion among providers, health officials say. A two-pronged federal effort launching this year seeks to more accurately collect hospital-acquired infection rates. The new, more specific definitions of infections seek to reduce confusion among providers, health officials say. The aims are first to assure clinicians report beyond the ICU to general med-surge patients, and second, to prevent hospitals’ from subjectively interpreting what qualifies as a reportable infection.
In the first effort, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded reporting of central line-associated bloodstream (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) to all medical and surgical beds throughout a hospital, with reports starting Jan. 1, 2015. Before Jan. 1, only those infections in eligible hospital’s intensive care units showed up in the Medicare database through the Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) program on Hospital Compare.
Read more: Hospital Infection Reporting to Widen, Definitions to Get More Precise, Health Leader Media
Study Finds Lack of Impact of Electronic Health Records on Quality of Care and Outcomes for Ischemic StrokeMartina Dolan | May 6, 2015
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology looked at whether hospitals with electronic health records (EHRs) differed on quality or outcome measures for ischemic stroke from those without EHRs. EHRs may be key tools for improving the quality of health care, particularly for conditions for which guidelines are rapidly evolving and timely care is critical, such as ischemic stroke. Findings from the study of their sample GWTG-Stroke hospitals indicated that EHRs were not associated with higher-quality care or better clinical outcomes for stroke care. Although EHRs may be necessary for an increasingly high-tech, transparent healthcare system, as currently implemented, they do not appear to be sufficient to improve outcomes for this important disease.