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Council Connection: The Key Metrics

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 13, 2011
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Chris Snyder
DO, CMIO, hospitalist,
Peninsula RegionalMedical Center, Salisbury, MD

The Challenge: It’s tough to keep track of metrics because the track keeps moving. We’re being held in dis- array because we have our standards that we have had for years and years—HealthGrades, Joint Commission, or Premier, or whoever your data repository is for metrics—but this is all changing and the guidance is not real good. We all think we are on the right track because we are looking at the core metrics we have had for years.

The Solution: Start with the metrics we already have information on. Once we do that, you’ll find those variances and openings for adding new metrics that may actually be a little more specific, or more broad.


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It’s All About Timing: A key metric for us is time. For stroke patients, time is brain tissue. For heart attack patients or sepsis patients, time is heart tissue and mortality, respectively. Those three metrics are the three largest metrics that have the largest impact on patient care and outcomes, reducing costs, reducing resources, because you are getting on things sooner and you are saving lives sooner. We are making it happen because we are forcing providers to use standardized processes to manage these folks based on a trigger that we have developed in our IT system. We are developing triggers for these timings so there is an earlier awareness of these types of patients coming through the door. The sooner you get them through the front door, the sooner you are going to get them out of the hospital.

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