The Quality Institute’s first Quality Breakfast brought together a panel of experts and an audience with deep experience in health care. This first breakfast and those planned for the future focus on specific initiatives to improve quality. The Quality Institute’s Senior Policy Advisor, Patricia Kelmar, shares key takeaways from the breakfast. The focus was lessons learned from the X hospitals recently awarded The Leapfrog Group’s Top Hospital Award.
The panel included leaders from hospitals that all rated Top Hospitals in The Leapfrog Group Hospital Survey. Did you find these institutions had anything in common? Were there common practices that contributed to their success as high performing hospitals?
Yes, absolutely. They said leadership is key to not only achieving top quality ratings but to sustaining top quality ratings year after year. The top hospitals have strategies that include regular briefings with leadership and even Board members to assess quality measures. In some cases, compensation is tied to employees meeting specific metrics. The top-performing hospitals also said that empowering front-line staff members is key to continued success. The top executives ask front line staff members who deliver the direct care, “How can we do this better? How can we reach the Leapfrog goal?” Many top hospitals also conduct daily briefings with everyone from the people who clean the rooms to the nurses to physicians. The daily gathering allowed for the quick resolution of problems as well as a way to avoid future problems
The audience also heard from Missy Danforth, Vice President of Hospital Ratings for The Leapfrog Group, who told those at the breakfast about changes in the 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. What did the hospital leaders and those in the audience say about the survey?
We heard that the hospital executives appreciated that Leapfrog set the areas and targets for them to focus on. Hospitals know where they need to drive change and how to improve quality and how to measure improvements. Leapfrog’s scientific panels set the measures and define the metrics.
What areas did the hospitals find most challenging in terms of improving quality?
I would definitely say the hospitals are working very hard at reducing hospital readmissions. Once a patient leaves their hospital, they find it hard to ensure patients continue to heal at home. We heard some creative ways that hospitals are helping their recently discharged patients. One hospital has paramedics visit individuals in their home, after they are released from the hospital to check in on them and make sure they have all their prescriptions filled and are doing OK. One independent pharmacist in a community delivers prescriptions to homes and goes over medications to make sure the patients understand the instructions. So, yes, reducing readmissions is challenging but those challenges are prompting hospitals to find creative solutions.
The breakfast had a diverse audience of people from the health care world. Did you find any interesting questions that contributed to the conversation?
Our audience was equally important and contributed to the discussion. We had someone from insurance health plan who asked the hospital executives, “How can we help you?” That sparked a discussion about how insurers have access to more health care data than hospitals and how that data could help hospitals support patients better. The hospital leaders also said insurers can play a role in monitoring patients after they leave the hospital to help patients avoid readmissions.
Can you tell us about the next Quality Breakfast?
Yes, it will be just as interesting and touches substance abuse, an issue that has been at the forefront of health news in New Jersey. The topic is Pain Management Alternatives to Opioids and Surgery. It’s April 4th. Our members can look for an invitation and registration in their inbox.