Study Suggests New Ways to Assess Hospital Quality

Monday, January 9th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

It’s a new year, time to ring out the old, ring in the new, and reassess existing notions that, like some of those old sweaters, just don’t fit anymore.

For example, a new study from the Yale School of Medicine suggests that previously used ways to assess hospital quality might be in question. Until now hospitals, health insurers and patients measured hospital quality on the number of patient deaths during hospitalization. New research reveals that this measure could be misleading given that some hospitals keep their patients for a shorter time due to patient transfers, and that these hospitals are being favored. The study suggests an alternative approach: measuring patient deaths over a period of 30 days of admission, even after they have left the hospital. This finding could have wide implications as quality measures take on more importance in the healthcare industry.

And an international study suggests that the U.S. healthcare system can be modified to decrease readmission rates, showing that up to one third of heart attack readmssions might be preventable. The study of more than 5700 heart patients in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and 13 European countries showed that readmissions may be preventable because rates are nearly one-third lower in other countries.

The HHS finalized its core set of Health Care Quality Measures for Medicaid-eligible adults; it comprises six major categories, among them prevention and health promotion, management of acute conditions, and availability of care. Healthcare providers and
insurers can use these measures to track care delivery among adults enrolled in Medicaid, as well as monitor and improve quality. More details can be found in this issue.

And lastly, a new initiative welcomes an old friend: Dr. Janice Pringle, a valued contributor on medication adherence, has been named an Innovation Advisor;
she is one of 73 selected for this initiative from CMS, designed to improve healthcare for patients. She and others will test new models of care delivery, form partnerships with local organizations to drive delivery system reform, and improve their own health systems.

This and more in this week’s issue of the Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

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