By Josette Keelor
Warren Memorial Hospital recently received recognition as a top performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest health care standards-setting and accrediting body.
According to hospital staff, they're part of a nationwide growing trend of measuring quality and safety in health care, and hospital President Patrick Nolan said acquiring the recognition has been a long process that started six years ago.
"This is a big team effort to make sure this all occurs," he said.
Dr. Robert Meltvedt, Front Royal surgeon and vice president of medical affairs at the hospital, said The Joint Commission measured the hospital on accountability measures that provide "a more scientific way of looking at health care."
"Are we doing the things that are best, that are up to date to take care of certain disease processes, certain kinds of patients?" he said.
With The Joint Commission's accountability measures, he said, "There's evidence that backs up measures."
He said there are four core measures The Joint Commission considers:
They need evidence to back up the hospital's choices in treating patients, the core measures need to be easy to measure so they can declare "that definitely happened," they need to prove a connection to an outcome such as antibiotics treating surgical infections and they make sure there weren't any unintended consequences.
The Joint Commission measured Warren Memorial's quality and safety in the categories of pneumonia and surgical care, and the hospital scored 96 percent and 99 percent respectively. In a press release, the hospital reported achieving a compliance rate of 95 percent or higher on the four measures it reports: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.
In its report released Oct. 30, The Joint Commission's listed Warren Memorial among 1,099 accredited hospitals that achieved the 95 percent or greater criteria, Meltvedt said.
"We've all been getting better, and it means better care for Americans, better, safer care, fewer infections," he said.
"From our standpoint, it's a very team oriented thing," he added. "This can't happen without a team."
And since implementing checklists about eight years, he said "It's become part of our culture."
The Joint Commission's recognition awards that work, he said. "This is above and beyond."
"It's about a concept that the Joint now calls a High Reliability Organization," Meltvedt said. "We don't [want to] have mistakes anymore... How do we do that, how do we bring that about?"
"And this is one of those measures," he said.
Basically what the award tells him is "Of the 3,000 or so hospitals that we accredit, you guys did really well."
"It's their hope that every hospital will be this good."
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org