Quality and Safety

How We Measure Quality & Safety

Quality and safety are measurable. We look at a number of different measures to see where we stand. Some of these measures are:
  • Volume
  • Process
  • Outcomes
  • Safety
Volume means the number of times a procedure is performed in that hospital or facility. It is used to assess clinical experience and expertise. Evidence and studies show that for some types of procedures, there is a connection between higher volume and better outcomes. In other words, a hospital where a certain procedure is done more often is likely to have better outcomes than a hospital where that procedure is not done as often. 
 
Questions you can ask your doctor if you are planning or preparing to have surgery or another procedure: 
  • How many times have you done this procedure?
  • How often is this procedure done in this hospital?
 
Process means whether a hospital or facility follows “best practices” when doing a procedure. Best practices are also called evidence-based processes of care.  There is a link between following evidence-based best practices and better outcomes. An example of a best practice is giving antibiotics at the right time to patients having surgery. Another example is stopping antibiotics at the right time. National averages for following best practices are tracked and published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
 
Questions you can ask your doctor if you are planning or preparing to have surgery or another procedure: 
  • Does this facility follow evidence-based processes of care?
  • Do you report your results to CMS?
  • How do your results compare with national averages?
 
Outcomes refers to the success of procedures done, measured by the occurrence of complications. Infection rate is one indicator of how successful a facility or hospital is at performing certain procedures. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Healthcare Surveillance Network (NHSN) publishes a national average of infection rates.*
 
Questions you can ask your doctor if you are planning or preparing to have surgery or another procedure: 
  • What are the infection rates for this procedure in the last 2 years? 
  • Have the infection rates gone up or down in the last 6 months?
 
*The risk of developing an infection differs between patients; the CDC NHSN average is not adjusted to take these differences into account.
 


 
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