A Year in Review: Quality Counts
Posted on Jan 25, 2010 | 1 comment
I want to begin this blog by thanking everyone at CPMC for all the work you do every day to care for our patients. It’s all-too-easy to forget that what we do—no matter how small it may seem at the moment—matters a great deal. Whether or not you touch patients directly, your work at CPMC helps to make sure that our patients receive state-of-the-art, compassionate care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
I hope all of you take the throughout the year to look in the mirror with the pride that comes from spending your career making a difference in other people’s lives.
So what happened at CPMC in 2009, and what are our plans for 2010? Over the next few days I will attempt to summarize what we did and where we are going by using the six Pillars that we use to measure ourselves by: Quality, People, Service, Finance, Growth, and Community. Let’s start by looking at Quality.
We ended 2009 on a high note, being informed that we were the recipient of a Leapfrog Top Hospital Award. Only 42 other hospitals in the entire country received this recognition. Even more remarkably, we are one of only three medical centers to have been chosen as a Top Hospital every year since the inception of the award in 2006 (the other two are Virginia Mason in Seattle and the University of Maryland, Baltimore).
For those who don’t know, Leapfrog represents a group of organizations concerned about hospital quality and safety. They took this name from the concept of encouraging hospitals to leapfrog one another in pursuing tougher standards (www.leapfroggroup.org). We also received recognition from the American Heart Association for our programs in caring for patients with myocardial infarction and stroke.
We did not do as well at meeting the Sutter system-wide quality targets this year. Though the St. Luke’s Campus met these goals (we call this being “green” on the Sutter dashboard) for most of the year, the other campuses struggled, particularly with making sure that we provide smoking cessation counseling to patients and that we clarify what medications patients are supposed to take after going home.
We also didn’t meet the goal for in-hospital mortality—we think because we need to do a better job making sure that we list and code patients’ pre-existing medical conditions more thoroughly.
We still have too many “Argh” moments—that’s what I call the times when I learn about an adverse event at one of our campuses and say to myself “Argh, this shouldn’t have happened at CPMC.”
I know that things can go wrong in hospitals and that even the most experienced people can make mistakes. Our responsibility is to make it hard for those mistakes to happen by making it easy to prevent them, and then to detect and correct them if they do occur.
That means all of us—and especially those of us in management—need a whole new set of skills, which is why we are going “back to school” during 2010.
We are going to learn the same skills that manufacturers like Toyota have used to build safer and better cars, and that health care systems like Virginia Mason have adapted for medical centers.
We are going to call this the QD (Quality Delivery) System, and I will write more about this in the coming months. QD refers to systems that apply to every patient, every day (qd stands for quaque die, which is Latin for “every day”).
Everyone will be expected to participate—to identify safer, better, more efficient, higher quality, less wasteful ways of taking care of our patients. That way we can spend more time helping patients and their families, talking with them, and explaining what’s going on, and less time running around like headless poultry.
We are not looking for high-tech solutions. We are looking for frilly toothpicks—you know, the kind with the colored cellophane twists at one end. Not only do they look pretty, they’re actually safety devices, so you can see the toothpicks in your sandwich before you accidentally include one with a bite of food.
As always, I’m interested in hearing from you. If you’d like to leave a response, or ask a question, just post a comment below.
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