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Top-performing Hospitals Highlighted by The Joint Commission

By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor

A new report by The Joint Commission acknowledges that hospitals across the country continue to build upon their commitment to evidence-based care processes and interventions that increase the rates of healthy outcomes.

“America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety: The Joint Commission’s 2014 Annual Report,” includes data reported by more than 3,300 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals in 2013. Among those reporting, 1,224 hospitals have earned recognition by The Joint Commission’s Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® program--which is an 11 percent increase from last year.

Mary Kay Bowie, BSN, MHSA, RN, CPHQ, associate director for the division of healthcare quality evaluation at The Joint Commission, explained that there are over 44 reported accountability measures for the Top Performers program, and effective January 1, 2014, The Joint Commission increased the required number of selected core measure sets from four to six for which hospitals must submit data.

“The Top Top-performing_Hospitals_Highlighted_by_Joint_CommissionPerformer program is like an extension of The Joint Commission’s annual report, which speaks to the dramatic strides that Unites States healthcare has made over the years. It’s another acknowledgement of the good work that hospitals are doing in regards to delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time,” she said. “The Top Performer program acknowledges hospitals that are performing at a rate of 95 percent or better in regards to the various metrics.”

The individual accountability measures of evidence-based care are all weighted evenly, and the 44 measures are within 10 sets. Some hospitals choose to send in more data than is required, and the reported information for 2013 shows improved care for pneumonia, children’s asthma, surgical care, heart failure and other common conditions. This demonstrates the nationwide implementation of evidence-based quality improvement processes is working.

Although 36.9 percent of all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals reporting accountability measure performance data for 2013 are recognized as “Top-performing Hospitals,” 718 hospitals missed achieving Top Performer recognition by only one measure and were designated as “On Track” hospitals.

Bowie added that hospitals that did not receive designation are being proactive about learning how they can make the list next year. To address these concerns and provide a forum for knowledge sharing and the exchange of best practices and success stories, The Joint Commission has developed the Core Measure Solution Exchange®.

To date, there are almost 300 core measure solutions that have been posted by hospitals that can help other facilities learn how to achieve Top Performer status in the future.

‘“The Top Performer program is the only program that we are aware of that recognizes hospitals on objective data only--there is no subjectivity to this,” said Bowie. “Hospitals can figure out if they are on track to be a Top Performer themselves because it is just a mathematical formula. We know now that more and more of the hospital systems are even developing reports to keep track of their hospitals to see if they are on track.”

For clinicians and healthcare workers, including allied health professionals, recognition holds even greater meaning as they strive to provide the best care possible to every patient.

“There is a lot of excitement about being acknowledged by an organization like The Joint Commission for something that these folks do as part of their normal process of giving good healthcare,” Bowie said. “It’s an acknowledgement to the nation that the hospital and staff within the hospital are working so hard to do what is right. The Joint Commission is acknowledging some really great efforts done on various levels of an organization and we want to tell the whole nation about it.”

Med Travelers, as an AMN Healthcare company, joins AMN in its Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval™ for Healthcare Staffing Companies by meeting The Joint Commission's stringent certification guidelines. Contact Med Travelers today to learn more about our opportunities in allied health travel.

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