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Cardiovascular Centers of Excellence Program: A System Approach for Improving the Care and Outcomes of Cardiovascular Patients at HCA Hospitals

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Background: A voluntary continuous quality improvement (CQI) effort, the cardiovascular Centers of Excellence (COE) program was implemented by HCA, Inc., to improve cardiovascular care in its hospital system.

Methods: The cardiovascular COE program targeted 165 hospitals that provide cardiovascular services in at least one major service area. Awards (unrestricted grants) provided hospitals with an incentive to participate.

Results: One hundred fifty-eight hospitals (95.8%) completed the entire 2005 cardiovascular COE program; five were identified as cardiovascular COE. The program developed three key CQI activities: (1) an ongoing Web-based survey to inventory, track, and verify evidence-based practices across all aspects of patient care, including clinical practices, leadership, communications, patient safety, and patient education; (2) quarterly benchmark reports tracking risk-adjusted outcomes and evidence-based practices; and (3) regularly scheduled educational programs presented by an interdisciplinary team in which lessons learned from an institution's successful, evidence-based, best-practice implementation were discussed.

Discussion: The COE program successfully encouraged facilities to proactively investigate their evidence-based clinical standards and outcomes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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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.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

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