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Assessing and Improving Quality and Safety

Michael Zeis, for HealthLeaders Media, August 13, 2013
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This article appears in the July/August issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Healthcare leaders report increasing levels of experience with clinical quality and patient safety. They also have plenty of experience working with quality and safety metrics. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of respondents to our annual Clinical Quality and Patient Safety Survey do have in place all of the selection of eight National Quality Foundation prevention or reduction protocols we presented in our survey.

Many of those who do not have particular protocols in place plan to add them. For instance, 31% expect to implement the NQF protocol to reduce falls and fall-related injuries within the next 12 months. If all follow through, within a year 91% will have in place NQF protocols for fall reduction.

"A transition is occurring," says William K. Cors, MD, MMM, FACPE, vice president and chief medical quality officer for the Pocono (Pa.) Health System, which includes the 215-bed Pocono Medical Center and other facilities. "We see the increasing numbers of people who are looking at NQF measures, for example, getting their arms around quality and safety metrics, with the assumption that the reimbursement systems of the future are going to be geared more toward such metrics."

This broad exposure to quality and safety metrics and the processes that track them seem to be building a foundation in the art and science of quality and safety that, for many, goes beyond measuring and reporting, in such a way that quality and safety become ingrained in the organization's culture.

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