The Clinical Quality Challenge

John Commins, May 22, 2014

In our Annual Industry Survey, leaders cited monitoring quality along the care continuum as their single greatest challenge regarding clinical quality improvement. How is your organization addressing this challenge?

Kathleen Sanford, DBA, RN 
Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
Catholic Health Initiatives
Englewood, CO


On identifying solutions: We started mostly as a hospital company and we are growing more into a continuum company so we knew we needed an infrastructure that wasn't just hospital-based. And we knew we needed to have the tools and the metrics to make that happen. So we set up a national and a regional infrastructure for that. And we actually restructured or retooled job descriptions
at the national office to make sure that we had people who are actually responsible for that.

On expanding the continuum: Each of our seven regions has a CEO and we decided each region needed a CMO and CNO, and a large part of their job is building the infrastructure to make sure that whatever quality measures we decide on, whether in the hospital or throughout the continuum, they are responsible for making sure the practices are put in place and that everything is done the same way across the country. All of our quality metrics come up through our service lines. And if we partner with someone who is not employed by CHI, part of our due diligence is seeing what they are doing in those areas. We want to make sure we're partnering with people who are working on quality.

On involving patients: We determined about three years ago that patients need to be a part of this, so we have national and regional patient and family advisory councils. They advise us on how to make things better. They look at the quality results in our regions. They also have experiences that they can share with us.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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