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April 2010

Health Reform Exerts New Pressure on Hospitals

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act creates unprecedented pressure for hospitals to improve the quality and efficiency of the care they provide to their patients.


The Medicare program, which also serves as the model for private health insurance, will begin to hold providers at increased financial risk for errors they make in the course of providing care, including when patients acquire preventable infections or have to be readmitted to the hospital due to poor care during the initial stay.


There will also be a host of quality measures for which hospitals will be held accountable in "pay for performance" programs. 


Hospitals have already begun newly seeking methods to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of their care in preparation for the health care payment reform that is coming from both the public and private sectors.  One private-sector example is Prometheus Payment, Inc. which has a series of pilots underway. 


Arrowsight is uniquely positioned to help hospitals improve care, reducing the likelihood they will suffer financially as a consequence of providing unreliable care.  Careful measurement and feedback to clinical staff on their compliance with key patient safety protocols can dramatically improve and help to sustain a high-level of performance long term.  Arrowsight looks forward to being an important partner to hospitals as they work to position themselves to succeed as the new law is implemented over the next several years.

NQF Releases Updated Safe Practices with Help of Dennis Quaid

Yesterday, at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., the National Quality Forum released an updated manual on Safe Practices for Better HealthcareDennis Quaid, the well-known Hollywood actor, participated in the release by sharing his personal story of a medication error experienced by his newborn twins in 2007.  He cited his partnership with the Texas Medical Institute for Technology, a key contributor to the report, and underscored leadership, safe practices and technology as the most important pillars of improvement.

The updated report, replete with tools to improve safety, draws on new evidence published since the last report was issued in 2009.

More Research Needed on Patient Handoffs

16444899 According to a study released today in the American Journal of Nursing, more research is needed to create an evidence base of how best to handle handoffs of patients between nurses as they come and go with shift changes. 

Two-thirds of sentinel events in hospitals are thought to happen because of poor communication (Joint Commission), and inadequate nursing handoffs are widely believed to increase the chances of negative consequences for patients.  However, this systematic review of nursing handoff literature from the 1987-2008 discovered that little research has been done to determine best practices.  The Joint Commission now wants hospitals to standardize this process, but there is little evidence to support one approach over another.

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