Special to Medical Journal – Houston By TED SHAW, President/CEO, Texas Hospital Association
From ongoing education and training of hospital personnel to reengineered processes and technology, improving health care quality and safety within a hospital is a multi-faceted and resource-intensive commitment. All Texas hospitals, regardless of their size, location or ownership status, understand this and are investing in patient safety and quality improvement by:
• Utilizing technology innovation such as predictive analytics to identify patients at high potential risk for a readmission.
• Improving communication with patients and caregivers regarding follow-up care and discharge planning.
• Collaborating with physicians and other health care providers through accountable care organizations.
• Improving care transitions through better communication and collaboration with community providers.
• Adopting best practices through national quality and patient safety initiatives, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Partnership for Patients and collaborating with community providers through initiatives such as CMS’ Community Care Transitions Program.
These investments are yielding significant dividends. Nationwide, the rate of hospitalacquired conditions has declined 17 percent since 2010. Hospital all-cause readmission rates have been decreasing for two consecutive years. Through THA’s own Texas Center for Quality & Patient Safety and its involvement with the Partnership for Patients, more than 80 percent of participating hospitals achieved “ideal” status, meaning they met the PfP goals in six or more adverse event areas. Data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show that ACOs have generated more than $372 million in total program savings for Medicare while delivering higher quality care. Health care spending growth is at an all-time low, in large part because of the slow growth in hospital costs…