Database features quality information for approximately 104 million insured lives.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has released its latest version of Quality Compass 2015: Commercial. This comprehensive database of health plan performance compiles data from 400 publicly reporting commercial plan products, offering information on clinical performance and patient experience for approximately 104 million covered lives.
The updated Quality Compass tool features performance data on active commercial health plans pulled from both the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) and Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®).
Quality Compass is a valuable tool for health plans, employers, and consumers. Itprovides state, regional, and national benchmarks, as well as individual plan performance. Benchmarks, or national averages for certain measures, are calculated from a total pool of 420 publicly and non-publicly reporting health plan products. Health plans use this information to help compare their performance to others in their area and across the country. Employers and purchasers use the information to choose the best-performing plans to offer their enrollees.
Quality Compass 2015: Commercial includes the following new and updated measures from the HEDIS Effectiveness of Care domain:
- Cervical Cancer Screening
- Non-Recommended Cervical Cancer Screening in Adolescent Females
“Health plans, employers and other consumers look to Quality Compass to pinpoint areas where plans are performing well, or that need improvement,” said NCQA’s Chief Information Officer, Rick Moore. “Offering the most comprehensive data set available lets consumers make sound decisions when choosing their plan.”
NCQA will release the Medicaid and Medicare editions of Quality Compass later this fall.
All Quality Compass editions can be ordered online through NCQA’s website, www.ncqa.org/qualitycompass.aspx, or by calling NCQA Customer Support at 888-275-7585.
Submissions are open through October 30 for the 2015 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards. These prestigious awards, given annually by NQF and The Joint Commission, recognize major achievements to improve patient safety and healthcare quality by individuals and organizations at the local and national levels in separate awards. Self-nominations are welcome.
“Each year, the Eisenberg award winners inspire the quality field as we work together to help ensure that all patients receive the high-quality, safe care that they need and deserve,” said Christine K. Cassel, MD, president and CEO of NQF.
Launched in 2002, the patient safety awards program honors the late John M. Eisenberg, MD, MBA, former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Eisenberg also was a member of the founding board of directors of NQF.
Award criteria and eligibility requirements are available online at http://www.qualityforum.org/eisenberg_award/
The 2015 awards will be presented during NQF’s Annual Conference, “Re-engineering Quality Data for Value,” April 7-8, 2016, in Washington, DC.
Comment Through Oct 16 on ISMP’s Guidelines for Communication of Medication Information in Electronic Systems
ISMP observes, “Health information technology vendors and users currently do not have a set of accepted standards related to the safe presentation of electronic data associated with medication information.” The guidelines address how medication information is communicated in EHRs, CPOE systems, eMARS, pharmacy computer systems, e-prescribing systems, and electronic displays that appear when using barcode scanning systems, smart infusion pumps, and automated dispensing cabinets.
ISMP plans to submit the finalized guidelines to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology and share them with technology vendors, standard setting organizations, professional organizations, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The nursing profession “will no longer tolerate violence of any kind from any source,” the American Nurses Association (ANA) declared in a new position statement on violence in health care workplaces released in August.
“Taking this clear and strong position is critical to ensure the safety of patients, nurses and other healthcare workers,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “Enduring physical or verbal abuse must no longer be accepted as part of a nurse’s job.”
ANA’s position statement, developed by a panel of registered nurses (RNs) representing clinicians, executives, and educators, addresses a continuum of harmful workplace actions and inactions ranging from incivility to bullying to physical violence. The statement defines bullying as “repeated, unwanted harmful actions intended to humiliate, offend and cause distress,” such as hostile remarks, verbal attacks, threats, intimidation and withholding support.
The statement calls on RNs and employers to share responsibility to create a culture of respect and to implement evidence-based strategies. The statement cites research showing that some form of incivility, bullying or violence affects every nursing specialty, occurs in virtually every practice and academic setting, and extends into all educational and organizational levels of the nursing profession.
A recent ANA survey of 3,765 RNs found that nearly one-quarter of respondents had been physically assaulted while at work by a patient or a patient’s family member, and up to half had been bullied in some manner, either by a peer (50%) or a person in a higher level of authority (42%).
Among the position statement’s recommendations to prevent and mitigate violence, in addition to setting a “zero tolerance” policy, are:
- Establishing a shared and sustained commitment by nurses and their employers to a safe and trustworthy environment that promotes respect and dignity
- Encouraging employees to report incidents of violence, and never blaming employees for violence perpetrated by non-employees
- Encouraging RNs to participate in educational programs, learn organizational policies and procedures, and use “situational awareness” to anticipate the potential for violence
- Developing a comprehensive violence prevention program aligned with federal health and safety guidelines, with RNs’ input
To prevent bullying, among ANA’s recommendations are that RNs commit to “promoting healthy interpersonal relationships” and become “cognizant of their own interactions, including actions taken and not taken.” Among recommendations for employers are to:
- Provide a mechanism for RNs to seek support when feeling threatened
- Inform employees about available strategies for conflict resolution and respectful communication
- Offer education sessions on incivility and bullying, including prevention strategies
A new report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reviews clinical studies examining methods for cleaning and disinfecting hospital rooms to prevent healthcare-associated infections. The literature reviewed also covered strategies for monitoring rooms for cleanliness and “contextual” factors, such as organizational culture, that influence implementation and effectiveness of room cleaning.
The studies selected for review examined high-touch, hard surfaces in inpatient wards—excluding pediatric, surgical, or long-term care settings—and addressed environmental contamination by Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas or vancomycin-resistant enterococci.
The authors found few studies published between 1990 and 2015 that compare disinfection methods, monitoring strategies, or implementation efforts. Studies that assess patient outcomes—the effect of cleaning on the incidence of HAIs—are also lacking. In addition to filling those gaps, the authors call for future researchers to study and compare new cleaning technologies such as ultraviolet light and disinfectant coatings.
The review was prepared for AHRQ by individuals at the ECRI Institute–Penn Medicine Evidence-Based Practice Center. A summary of the report was published in August 10, 2015, in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The full report can be found at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/healthcare-infections/.
Nominations are now being accepted for the Annual MITSS Hope Award. The award recognizes people and organizations—patients, families, healthcare providers, hospitals (or their teams or departments), academic institutions, community health centers, grass roots organizations, EAP Programs, etc.—who exemplify the mission of MITSS: Supporting Healing and Restoring Hope to patients, families, and clinicians impacted by adverse medical events. The Award is being sponsored by RL Solutions, and the winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.
Nominations are due by September 25, 2015, and the Award will be presented at the MITSS 14th Annual Dinner to be held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel on Thursday, November 12, 2015, from 5:30 to 9 pm.
LiveData, Inc. has announced that Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has expanded its deployment of LiveData PeriOp Manager™, adding LiveData OR-Schedule Board™ to its growing patient safety and operational intelligence deployments. A key module in LiveData PeriOp Manager, OR-Schedule Board provides a large-screen view of the day's surgical cases, showing the real-time status of all rooms in the OR suite with case milestone indications and alerts. It dynamically updates changes in real-time and uniquely predicts the actual case flow for the day, so perioperative teams have actionable data to influence OR utilization.
LiveData PeriOp Manager synchronizes perioperative workflow throughout the entire perioperative suite. Coordinating patient flow, patient care, and related resources from preoperative assessment to discharge in real-time, PeriOp Manager streamlines OR throughput and promotes full compliance with CMS, The Joint Commission, and other critical patient safety mandates. OR-Schedule Board is a real-time view of the day’s surgical caseload. It automatically adjusts case start and end times based on real-time case workflow monitoring, and provides interactive tools to automate OR assignment and clinical staffing on the fly.
“Hospitals are under constant pressure to cut costs safely, while maintaining their commitment to patient safety and quality healthcare,” said LiveData CEO Jeff Robbins. “One of the most effective way to improve the bottom line is by optimizing the scheduling of resources, both equipment and personnel. OR-Schedule Board brings a new level of efficiency and effectiveness to clinical staff and management.”
OR-Schedule Board has been deployed in all operating rooms at Mass General.
Web-based OR-Schedule Board is accessible from any authorized workstation throughout the OR suite – PreOp, PACU, ICU, staff lounges, and even locker rooms.
LiveData PeriOp Manager integrates real-time data with workflow automation to coordinate and manage patient care throughout the perioperative suite. PeriOp Manager includes:
- OR-Schedule Board: a real-time view of the day’s surgical cases, enabling scheduled procedures to be adjusted as the day unfolds to reduce unnecessary cancellations, staff overtime, and to improve overall patient throughput.
- PreOp Board: a single, dynamic, operational view of patient status and perioperative case workflow confirms the necessary prerequisites for surgery are completed in time to ensure on-time starts and reduce unnecessary rescheduling or cancellations.
- OR-Dashboard: a display of patient information, visible to the entire surgical team, integrating data from hospital medical records and physiological devices with automated surgical workflow and patient safety information including Active Time Out, a real-time, interactive surgical safety checklist.
- Patient Flow: a patient check-in process integrated into perioperative workflow tracking.
- Family Waiting Board: a display designed for public areas to enable families to track the progress of their loved ones as they move through the surgical process.
- Analytics: comprehensive big data analysis, transforming real-time operational data into actionable quality, compliance, and efficiency intelligence.
While much emphasis has been placed on the improvement of IV infusion safety, standardized safe practices associated with IV push injection safety remain limited. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) recently released new guidelines to help healthcare practitioners identify risks associated with adult IV push medications.
The guidelines were developed as part of a national summit held by ISMP in 2014 to address safety concerns reported through ISMP’s National Medication Errors Reporting Program and uncovered by several ISMP surveys, as well as unsafe practices and at-risk behaviors observed during onsite consultations at acute care and outpatient locations across the U.S.
Funded by a grant from BD, the summit brought together expert stakeholders, including frontline practitioners, professional organizations, regulatory agencies, and product vendors, to gain consensus on strategies for safe IV push administration of parenteral medications to adults. Participants also identified a number of unresolved issues that deserve additional study. A draft of the document was shared on ISMP’s website for public comment before being finalized.
The guidelines discuss the risks associated with IV push therapy, and present recommendations that address the following areas:
- Acquisition and distribution
- Aseptic technique
- Clinician preparation
- Clinician administration
- Drug information resources
- Competency assessment
- Error reporting
- Future inquiry
The guidelines also call on manufacturers to provide IV products in the most ready-to-administer form possible and to design devices and technology that promote safe IV push drug administration. Researchers are asked to take on the unanswered questions expressed by participants, leading the healthcare community to a better understanding of what places patients at risk and the corresponding evidence-based risk-reduction strategies that have proven to be the most successful.
"A number of latent system issues have contributed to the variable state of IV push injection practices—they can differ significantly not only between healthcare organizations, but even within a single organization’s individual clinical units," says Michael Cohen, RPh, MS, ScD (hon.), DPS (hon.), FASHP, president of ISMP. "Through dedicated commitment to standardization, we can significantly improve patient outcomes and prevent errors."
“BD shares ISMP’s goal of reducing the risks associated with IV push medication errors,” said William A. Tozzi, worldwide president, BD Medical – Medication and Procedural Solutions. “One of BD’s top priorities is to provide solutions that help improve medication safety, and our grant to ISMP will help support development of standardized safe practices associated with IV push medication use.”
For a copy of ISMP's Safe Practice Guidelines for Adult IV Push Medications, visit the Institute’s website at: http://www.ismp.org/Tools/guidelines/ivsummitpush/ivpushmedguidelines.pdf
A new, secure text messaging service called athenaText® is fully integrated with athenahealth's cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) platform and accessible through the standalone athenaText and Epocrates mobile apps.
AthenaText is available at no cost to more than one million healthcare professionals on the athenahealth network, including every athenaClincials® EHR and Epocrates user. Additionally, healthcare professionals in the U.S. can now join the athenahealth network by accessing athenaText for free via mobile.
"We designed athenaText so doctors and staff can communicate with each other wherever and whenever they need on a unified, easy-to-use platform," said Abbe Don, vice president of strategic design at athenahealth.
Earlier this year, Annapolis Internal Medicine in Maryland started using athenaText to improve communication. "For years, we played phone tag," said Dr. Kevin Groszkowski of Annapolis Internal Medicine. "Now our entire care team is communicating effectively and securely on one, fully-integrated system. For example, the front desk alerts medical assistants via text when patients arrive to pick up prescriptions, while the billing team keeps us docs on task with text reminders to fill out patient charges. But the biggest benefit is being able to respond immediately to clinical questions from our nurse practitioners—whether I'm in or out of the office. What I love is that the care isn't slowed down because I missed a call or email, and patients aren't kept waiting. AthenaText keeps the care cycle moving forward, saving us valuable time while improving patient care."
Whether using athenaText via web-based athenaClinicals, a mobile phone, or Apple Watch™, providers can leverage the power of athenahealth's new text messaging service. AthenaText is available in the Epocrates mobile app or from the Apple App Store(SM)or Google Play™ store.
Annual Programs Support Research Efforts to Improve the Patient Experience
The Beryl Institute announces its sixth annual Patient Experience Grant Program and fourth annual Institute Scholar Program. In partnership with Patient Experience Institute, these offerings reinforce the commitment to help frame and expand the field of patient experience, develop leaders on the front lines and throughout the experience movement, and provide information and research to support expanded focus and measured impact of patient experience in healthcare.
The grant and scholar programs are intended to encourage and support research into the:
• Value of focusing on the patient experience before, during and after care (e.g., ROI, satisfaction or quality outcomes)
• Impact of service efforts on the healthcare experience
• Influence of culture on the patient experience, service and outcomes
• Integrated review of key factors that support positive healthcare experiences
"Since their inception in 2010, the Patient Experience Grant and Scholar Programs have provided funding to over 50 organizations and individuals seeking to expand the conversation, learning and sharing around patient experience improvement,” said Stacy Palmer, vice president, strategy and member experience, The Beryl Institute. “We are pleased to continue this support as part of our commitment to help generate, collect and share ideas and proven practices to further the patient experience movement.”
Healthcare leaders and staff engaged in managing or improving patient experience, or graduate students, and/or university faculty members may apply. Research should be relevant to the topics outlined by the grant program and can be in proposal stage, in process or near completion.
All recipients will be required to complete their research within one year of the grant being awarded and to develop a research paper, to be published through the Institute. Recipients will also be asked to present their findings at The Beryl Institute Patient Experience Conference.
The application deadline for each program is October 2, 2015. Recipients will be announced late October 2015.
In a report released in July, the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Interoperability Advisory Group (IAG) calls on health systems and hospitals, developers and vendors of electronic devices and information systems, and government and regulatory agencies to work together to improve the interoperability of healthcare data.
In Achieving Interoperability that Supports Care Transformation, the group observes that the United States will gain full advantage of its recent investment in electronic health records (EHR) only when information can be shared easily and securely among all who need to use it. Acknowledging that initiatives such as meaningful use and EHR certification provide starting points, the report faults the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for not doing enough to support interoperability. EHR certification includes standards that support data sharing, but the IAG reports that organizations need more practical help for implementation and better oversight of vendor offerings before they will be able to achieve the goal of interoperability:
…ONC generally did not provide implementation guidance for the use of the standards, allowed flexibility in how the standards are used by vendors and adopted relatively lax testing of EHRs for certification. As a result, AHA members report very limited actual interoperability today.
Members of the IAG include administrative and clinical leaders, as well as experts in information technology, and represent the range of AHA member organizations from large academic medical centers to standalone hospitals.
In addition to wanting ONC and the federal government in general to focus more effectively on standards, certification, and testing, the IAG’s report describes things the private sector must do to advance interoperability. The private sector includes providers, vendors, health information exchanges, and organizations that represent the interests of other stakeholders. Among the ways they can support interoperability, the IAG highlights demanding that vendors adhere to accepted standards, contributing use cases that accurately represent the need for sharing information, and sharing lessons learned and best practices.
In addition to a long to-do list for the private and public sectors, the IAG suggests that a new multi-stakeholder organization may be necessary to “drive progress on interoperability.” Citing the success of CAQH—a non-profit alliance that promotes standardized sharing of financial and business data for healthcare organizations— the IAG proposes that a similar group might help navigate the competing stakeholder interests and accelerate what so far has been slow progress on interoperability.
A Dialogue on Improving Patient Experience throughout the Continuum of Care: A New Report From the Beryl Institute
The Beryl Institute has released a white paper that explores the focus on patient, resident, and family experience in various healthcare settings. A Dialogue on Improving Patient Experience throughout the Continuum of Care provides insight from healthcare leaders and reinforces the importance of patient experience.
The paper shares a community dialogue held at The Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Conference 2015, where a panel of respected healthcare professionals engaged in discussion on practice across the continuum, including the voice of patients and families and sharing practices and new ideas to improve experience at all touch points. The panel represented perspectives from physician practice, acute care, and long-term care settings.
Leaders contributing to the discussion included:
• Dr. Larry Brown, medical director, Alegent Creighton Clinic
• Audrey Weiner, president and CEO, Jewish Home Lifecare
• Dan Wolterman, president and CEO, Memorial Hermann Health System
Core themes focused on culture, people, and communication. Panelists reinforced the need for strong leadership and organizational catalysts, the recognition that engagement is important, stories are powerful tools, and the voices of patients and families must be listened to and acted upon.
The white paper is free to members of The Beryl Institute and $29.95 for non-members. To download the paper, visit http://www.theberylinstitute.org/?page=PUBLICATIONS.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2015, the American Board of Magnetic Resonance Safety (ABMRS) administered the first examination to certify individuals with the credentials MR Medical Director/Physician (MRMD) and MR Safety Officer (MRSO). More than 100 radiologists, technologists, and medical physicists took the exam for either the MRMD or MRSO. Only licensed physicians may sit for the MRMD exam. The ABMRS will also offer an MR Safety Expert (MRSE) credential, for which the inaugural exam will be administered on October 21, 2015, in Orlando, Florida. Exams for the MRMD and MRSO credentials will also be offered at that time.
The MRMD and MRSO examinations cover distinct aspects of the same MR safety knowledge domains (e.g., static magnetic fields, gradient magnetic fields, radio frequency energies, contrast agents, bioeffects, etc.). The exams focus directly on the candidates’ knowledge of the underlying MR safety concepts as well as their ability to apply that knowledge to real-world clinical and research situations.
The ABMRS was formed in 2014 to certify healthcare professionals who oversee safety in all magnetic resonance environments. For more information visit the ABMRS website.
The Association of Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) has awarded Sanjay Saint, MD, with the organization’s Distinguished Scientist Award. The award is given annually to an APIC member who has made a significant and sustained contribution to infection prevention science and who exemplifies scholarly excellence and infection prevention leadership within the scientific community. The award was presented during APIC’s 42nd Annual Conference, which was held in June in Nashville, Tennessee.
“This year we are honoring Dr. Sanjay Saint with this award for his major contributions to implementation science, infection prevention, and patient safety,” said APIC 2015 President Mary Lou Manning, PhD, CRNP, CIC, FAAN, FNAP. “His life-long dedication to enhancing patient safety by preventing healthcare-associated infections has helped advance APIC’s mission both domestically and abroad.” Dr. Saint is a national leader in preventing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) and currently serves on the leadership team of a federally funded program that aims to reduce CAUTI across the United States.
Saint is the George Dock Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan, the director of the VA/University of Michigan Patient Safety Enhancement Program, and the chief of medicine at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Saint has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed papers, with 95 appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Lancet, or the Annals of Internal Medicine. He is also the lead author of Preventing Hospital Infections: Real-World Problems, Realistic Solutions, a book recently published by Oxford University Press. He has been a visiting professor at more than 50 universities and hospitals in the United States, Europe, and Japan, and has active research studies underway with investigators in Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Australia, and Thailand.
Application deadline is July 31, 2015.
The Emergency Care Innovation of the Year Award is an annual competition sponsored by Urgent Matters, Blue Jay Consulting, and Schumacher Group. The award recognizes multidisciplinary emergency department-based teams who have implemented a process or strategy to improve patient, clinical, and operational outcomes and can demonstrate measureable assessment of its effectiveness.
Submissions must include at least one of the following innovation categories: safety and quality, flow and efficiency, care coordination, patient experience, and cost-consciousness.
One member of the winning team will present his or her team’s innovation at the Urgent Matters Conference to be held at the American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly on October 25 in Boston, Massachusetts.
More information about the award, including deadlines, eligibility requirements, and submission forms, is available online.
- AHA Recognizes Hospitals with the Equity of Care Award
- Brain and Spine Surgery No More Risky When Physicians-In-Training Participate, Study Finds
- Shulkin Confirmed as Under Secretary of Health for US Department of Veterans Affairs
- National Program to Improve the Quality of Geriatric Surgical Patient Care Announced by American College of Surgeons and John A. Hartford Foundation
- Iatric Systems Accelero Connect Integrates Medical Devices with the EHR
- Press Ganey Introduces Program to Help Provider Organizations Prepare for OAS CAHPS
- ABQAURP News
- Predictive Analytics, Home Health Monitoring Combine for Better Care
- New Sentinel Event Alert Examines Safe Use of Health Information Technology
- Dr. Gary Kaplan Named Chair of NPSF Lucian Leape Institute
- Skylight Healthcare Systems Releases New Nurse Rounding Tool
- Mount Sinai Launches System for Faster Referrals, Increased Quality of Care
- Stand Up for Patient Safety Management Award Winners Announced
- Extraordinary Nurses Honored by NPSF, DAISY Foundation
- Better Communication Key to Lowering Healthcare Costs, Improving Patient Experience: ASQ Survey