Any health system can claim to deliver “quality care.” But to truly demonstrate effective clinical performance requires both outside review and in–house evaluation alike.
Middlesex Health was one of the first in Connecticut to voluntarily participate in major quality programs conducted by several government and healthcare industry organizations.
The foremost quality program in which we participate is called “Core Measures.” These measures were developed by The Joint Commission—the nation’s foremost accrediting body in health care—and based on quality indicators from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Adherence to Core Measures has been shown to improve patient outcomes dramatically.
Health care organizations across the United States, including Middlesex Health, are measured and compared by The Joint Commission against all other accredited institutions on their performance in these Core Measures. There is a time lag of several months between when data is reported from hospitals and when it is posted for the public to review. This is because Middlesex, like other institutions, has to wait for state and national statistics to be compiled before posting quality data for a given period.
Core Measure Categories
There are twelve Core Measures altogether, in four categories:
- acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- congestive heart failure
- community-acquired pneumonia
- surgical care improvement project
Under each category, key actions are listed that represent the most widely accepted, evidence-based care process for appropriate care in that category.
Customized, Patient-Centered Care
One important thing to keep in mind is that each care process may not be appropriate for every patient. If a physician determines that a patient is not an appropriate candidate for a particular care process, the patient will not be included in the data.
A good example is aspirin. Some patients are allergic to aspirin; for others, taking aspirin will make another medical problem worse. In these cases, the physician may determine that aspirin should not be administered or prescribed for the patient. Therefore, the patient will not be included in the data.