Improving Quality and Safety: The Joint Commission’s Annual Report 2014
Last month, The Joint Commission released its 2014 Annual Report, in which it recognizes over 1,200 hospitals for outstanding performance on key quality measures. According to the November 13 announcement, more than 3,300 Joint Commission accredited hospitals have steadily improved individual accountability measures over the past few years. The following is my brief overview of this year’s report.
The Number of Hospitals Recognized as ‘Top Performer’ on the Rise
According to this year’s data, the number of hospitals recognized by The Joint Commission’s Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® program has increased by 11 percent over the previous year, with 1,224 hospitals earning this distinction for 2014. In order to receive this recognition, hospitals must have met three performance criteria based on 2013 accountability measure data. 35 of the nation’s 124 academic medical centers are now in the Top Performer ranks, up from just four in 2011. Furthermore, the report states that hospitals from all bed-size categories and every demographic category (rural, urban, for-profit, not-for-profit, teaching, and non-teaching) have also achieved continual annual improvement.
3 Measures That Need Improvement in 2015 and Beyond
While the report shows that hospitals are on the right path to providing better care, The Joint Commission has identified three key measures that need improvement. In particular, hospitals can improve their performance in providing care plans or discharge instructions, such as:
- creating home management care plans for asthma patients
- transmitting continuing care plans for psychiatric patients
- providing warfarin discharge instructions for venous thromboembolism (VTE) patients
New for 2014: Perinatal Care Measure Set
For the first time, The Joint Commission included a perinatal measure set consisting of five measures that were used in the calculation of scores. The addition of the perinatal accountability measure set is significant, as it exposes another key area for improvement. According to the report, only 5.6 percent of hospitals achieved composite rates of more than 95 percent in these measures. Specifically, the main factor lowering the perinatal care composite result is the accountability measure for exclusive breast milk feeding considering mother’s choice. As a result, the percentage of Joint Commission-accredited hospitals achieving composite accountability measure performance greater than 95 percent in 2013 declined to 81.1 percent from 83 percent in 2012.
Although The Joint Commission’s latest Annual Report shows an upward trend in the quality of care provided by our nation’s hospitals, there is room for improvement in certain key areas. By focusing on providing better care plans and discharge instructions, as well as in improving perinatal care overall, hospitals can continue to reach new heights in quality of care.