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July 15, 2009 > Washington Hospital Issues First Annual Quality Report

Washington Hospital Issues First Annual Quality Report

Each year, Washington Hospital publishes an annual report that not only details the Hospital's financial performance, it also highlights the year's major achievements in providing health care to the community. This year, Washington will issue its first annual report on quality.

"Our emphasis on quality and safety fits Washington's guiding principle, the Patient-First Ethic. It's also very timely because people in the community are becoming better educated about the issues and more savvy consumers of health care," says Stephanie Williams, R.N., the hospital's chief of quality and resource management. "They know more about what is best and what they should expect. With the help of the internet, they now have the ability to look at different hospital data, ask the right questions, choose best practices, and really take ownership of their care."

Washington Hospital's first Quality Report is also well timed because it comes as an entirely new era in health care quality improvement is making a noticeable impact on hospital practices and patient outcomes across the country. The movement first began in late 2004, when the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) announced its 100,000 Lives Saved Campaign, the first-ever national initiative to save a specified number of patient lives by a certain date using proven clinical practices and methods. This was followed by a second ambitious nationwide effort to protect 5 Million Lives from harm. Thousands of hospitals are participating in these programs.

With the full support of its Board of Directors, Washington Hospital has been an enthusiastic and committed partner in both campaigns. The Hospital's Quality Report contains further details about how, together, the administration, physicians and staff at Washington embraced the 12 initiatives of the IHI campaigns. It also outlines the resulting positive impact on quality and patient outcomes during 2008.

Besides achieving improved outcomes for many more patients, the IHI campaigns have helped generate an entirely new way of approaching quality improvement initiatives at Washington and elsewhere. The focus now is on best practices and evidence-based medicine using rational, results-oriented methods. There is an emphasis on tracking, monitoring, measuring, assessing and sharing information, not just within the Hospital but with other health care institutions throughout the Bay Area, the state and the nation.

To have the optimal impact, Washington focuses on systems and processes with the most potential to improve outcomes for the greatest number of patients, such as medication safety and infection control. Many of these efforts and their results are documented in the Quality Report.

Along with other hospitals, Washington also works to meet a set of Core Measures established by The Joint Commission, the national's leading hospital accreditation organization.

Tracking these measures documents how well a hospital performs in treating patients for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia, as well as in the operating room. The report describes the success of Washington's efforts to meet or exceed each of the Core Measures, including charts and graphs that show the results of some specific initiatives.

Likewise, the report describes the Hospital's work in meeting a set of National Patient Safety Goals issued each year by The Joint Commission. Among others, these include reducing patient harm from falls and insuring the accuracy of patient identification whenever care, treatment or service is provided.

Since nursing is such a major part of quality patient care, Washington continuously looks for ways to hire and support the best nurses and encourage their advancement. The Quality Report describes the Hospital's ongoing journey to achieve Nursing Magnet recognition, an honor bestowed on just 4 percent of U.S. hospitals and only 2 percent in California. In addition, the report discusses Washington's hospitalist programs and their contribution to quality care. Hospitalists are physicians who focus solely on treating patients in the hospital, as they collaborate with a patient's primary care physician. Washington has six different successful hospitalist programs.

Finally, the Quality Report highlights the achievements of several Hospital programs that have been recognized for excellence by government and community organizations. These include the Cardiac Receiving Center, Diabetes Education Program and Primary Stroke Center.

In some cases, Washington's efforts to improve quality are voluntary. In many others, the Hospital works to comply with local, state and federal regulatory agencies and other organizations the research, set and track standards of care.

"There is definitely a regulatory component to much of what we do for quality and patient safety," states Kris LaVoy, R.N., Washington's chief of compliance and patient safety officer. "But, this is not the primary reason for our extensive array of quality improvement efforts. We do it because it's best for our patients."

Quality Report is Now Available

If you would like to have a copy of Washington Hospital's 2009 Quality Report mailed to your home, please contact Washington Hospital's Community Relations Department at (510) 791-3417.

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