Tuesday, April 21, 2009

AHA Quality Center Distributes Guide to Bolster Quality Improvement

The American Hospital Association's (AHA) Quality Center has launched an initiative to help hospital leaders enhance "clinical, operational and financial performance" by meeting the Institute of Medicine's six aims for improvement, AHA News Now reports. To jump-start such efforts, the AHA has released Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence, a new guide containing 28 case studies targeting four improvement areas, including health care-acquired infections, medication management, patient throughput and patient safety. Each case study details how a problem related to one of the four areas manifested in a particular hospital, how the hospital chose to fix the problem and the outcomes of the implemented strategy. According to the AHA chair-elect, although the case studies present a range of solutions, a central tenet is active, enthusiastic leadership where the chief executive officer can work with the board to set the tone. Acknowledging concerns that hospitals are struggling to maintain financial viability during the current recession, the senior vice president for quality and performance at the AHA, who also directs the AHA Quality Center, says that "improving quality means improving efficiency and driving out waste." According to Hospitals & Health Networks, AHA's Quality Center will follow the guide's release with workshops and roundtables at the AHA Health Forum Leadership Summit in July. In addition, AHA-affiliated groups including the Center for Healthcare Governance, the Institute for Diversity in Health Management and the Health Research & Educational Trust, will offer a range of demonstrations, development programs, fellowships and reports. Commenting on the challenge the medical field has faced in spreading best practices, the president and chief executive officer of the National Quality Form says that "we need to send a clear signal that encourages and rewards best practices, and encourages their adoption." ( AHA News Now, 4/14/09; AHA News Now, 3/30/09; Santamour, Hospitals & Health Networks, April 2009; AHA's Quality Center Web site; Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence introduction, accessed 4/14/09)

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