Quality Improvement for Stroke Management at the Cleveland Clinic Health System

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Background: The Cleveland Clinic Health System established a stroke quality improvement (QI) initiative across its nine hospitals.

Implementing the Stroke QI Initiative: A stroke QI team took a three-pronged approach to QI: professional education, public education, and hospital process improvements. Its activities and subsequent data analysis needs were divided into four cycles (1999–2003). All data were provided to the stroke QI team and then to the Medical Operations Council to review results, consider data integrity issues, and plan dissemination. The dissemination of performance results permitted broad organizational responses to facilitate improvement. Improvement activities included professional education, public awareness, process improvement, focused data collection with routine feedback, protocol refinement, and coordination of clinical personnel within and between hospitals.

Results: The frequency of brain hemorrhagic complications decreased by more than half, from 13.4% to 6.4%; the rate of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator use increased from 1.5% to 3.9% of all stroke patients; and protocol deviations were reduced from 33% to 17%.

Discussion: The keys to this initiative's success were the health system's leadership's support, physicians' engagement via multidisciplinary project committees at the health system and hospital levels, and flexibility in implementing locally tailored process interventions.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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