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The Clinical Quality Challenge

By John Commins  
   May 22, 2014

Mary Anna Sullivan, MD
Chief Quality and Safety Officer
Lahey Health
Burlington, MA

Quality along the care continuum and readmissions are really the same thing. It is figuring out how to take care of all of our patients in what we call the interstices. It's not when they are in the office or in the hospital; it is all those in-between times where we need to figure out how to offer real longitudinal care and be able to assure ourselves and our patients that we are offering the highest-quality care in the right setting.

That includes a huge focus on patient engagement and recognizing that we can have the best of intentions and follow great standardized evidence-based medicine and get everybody doing it just right, but unless we are really partnering with our patients and they are truly engaged in their own care, then we are not going to be hitting our mark either.

We are looking now at total medical expense, which means you can't just look at the hospital and clinic visits. You have to focus on whether the patient is getting the best care possible in the least costly appropriate setting.

We're looking at the patients who are dealing with multiple comorbidities including behavioral health and figuring out how to embed behavioral health into primary care and do community outreach so that the folks who are not doing well and who are least likely to get themselves to appointments don't get lost.

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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