Few choices in life are as critical as those that are personal, whose consequences often are not evident until a health issue arises. A vast amount of information is available to inform your health care choices, but the challenge is the lack of universal agreement on which measures the quality of health care can be judged. Numerous organizations report health care quality performance on the Internet to help consumers select providers. In these reports, the risk adjustments, populations studied, timeframes and numerators/denominators are variable.
New quality measures are introduced to the market regularly, and we believe chasing every public metric would spread our resources too thin to make a meaningful impact. So, the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network holds itself accountable to publicly reported quality measures from specific, widely credited sources that represent a balance of inpatient and ambulatory (outpatient) measures across many types of health care providers. These include the
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (for measures such as patient safety)
- National Committee for Quality Assurance (for certain accreditations of our clinic services)
- Vizient (which allows us to compare ourselves to like organizations, since it is composed of other academic medical centers)
- Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (for ambulatory measures).
These sources are consistent with the aims and priorities developed as part of the Affordable Care Act, and they keep the focus on the integrity of data reporting to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the American Hospital Association, major drivers of all other programs.
Always Striving for More
While the Froedtert & MCW health network consistently ranks high in quality assessments, we continually look for ways to improve the care we provide. Examples of our efforts include:
Clinical Decision Support — Software that prompts clinical guidance in real-time within a patient’s electronic health care record helps doctors make better and more efficient patient care decisions.
Antimicrobial Stewardship — We use a variety of strategies to combat antibiotic resistance. From educating physicians about making optimal prescribing decisions, to enhancing communication between pharmacists and clinicians, to partnering with the microbiology lab to identify infection-causing bacteria faster, we have instituted new ways to make it easier for clinicians to make the correct treatment decisions quickly and efficiently.
Hospital Discharge Care Program — A collaborative program between Froedtert Hospital and Horizon Home Care, the Hospital Discharge Care Program helps patients at high risk for readmission to the hospital. Patients are assisted with their care after discharge from the hospital for approximately 30 days until their health is stable enough to resume usual care with a primary care provider.
Having a top-performing, nationally ranked academic medical center in our community means you will always have the highest level of care nearby. I encourage my fellow health care professionals to let the answer to this question be their guide when faced with tough choices in their work: “What’s best for my patient?” You, too, have a choice, and I’m proud that the quality we offer is a definitive answer.