I urge anyone committed to improving health care quality to read this case study from Texas Children’s Hospital’s Pavilion for Women, which outlines how the organization reduced the use of episiotomies by more than 60 percent in five years. Today, these surgical incisions — which increase complications and maternal deaths — are used in just 3.4 percent of births at the Houston hospital.
The case study, provided by The Leapfrog Group, shows the power of transparency to advance best practices, and also demonstrates how sharing comparative data with clinicians drives real change. Clinicians who clearly see how they stack up against their colleagues are motivated to improve.
To me, the Texas case also shows that when leaders of a health care organization prioritize a clinical area or measure the improvements can be real and lasting. We saw that on Tuesday at our Leapfrog Quality Breakfast, where New Jersey hospital leaders showed how they are driving quality improvements at their institutions.
At our breakfast, over scrambled eggs and coffee, we heard from nearly 70 quality leaders working at the 12 New Jersey hospitals designated as Top Hospitals by Leapfrog. The leaders shared their hard work to drive down C. Diff and surgical site infections, reduce Cesarean sections, strengthen antibiotic stewardship, and more.
Every quality leader spoke about the need for continual monitoring of the data and frequent collaboration. Hospitals need to educate their own staff as well as community providers, several said. I heard about the challenges but also learned about impressive successes — and was reminded that behind every improved metric is a better outcome for a real patient.
At the heart of quality improvement is transparency, and I am also proud that in New Jersey now all but one hospital (Memorial Hospital of Salem County) participates in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, our best showing ever.
I believe that our members working to improve quality have much to share with a wider audience. That’s why I’m issuing an “open call” to our members: let us help you share your quality improvements in a future Leapfrog case study. The work would need to focus on efforts to meet a current measure on the Leapfrog survey or safety grade.
We can help you create a Leapfrog Case Study so others can learn from — and be inspired by — your achievements in quality.