Outcomes of an Initial Set of Standardized Performance Measures for Inpatient Mental Health

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Background: In January 2006, the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) convened a committee of experts from academic health centers to identify an initial set of important standardized performance measures for inpatient psychiatric services and to evaluate the current state of performance in these measures at eight academic health centers.

Method: The eight UHC academic medical centers completed a retrospective review of 20 inpatient psychiatric records on patients who were 18–65 years of age with a primary diagnosis of psychosis and a length of stay ≥ 2 days. The performance measures, derived from practice standards and the consensus of an interdisciplinary committee of experts, focused on the processes of care, including screening, assessment, treatment, coordination, continuity, and safety.

Results: Although there was variability in organizational performance in a number of the psychiatric measures, some organizations demonstrated high levels of performance. Performance measures indicating the greatest improvement opportunities for organizations included notification of outpatient mental health provider of the psychiatric hospitalization within two days; collaboration with the outpatient mental health provider and/or primary care physician; and scheduling a follow-up appointment within seven days of discharge.

Discussion: This initial benchmarking project in mental health at academic health centers shows that there is a range of conformity to important processes of care in the inpatient mental health setting. The results of the notification, collaboration, and continuity measures in this study highlight national concerns regarding the lack of communication and collaboration between providers in the transition through the continuum of services. Future quality measurement projects in mental health services should integrate clinical process measures with outcome measures.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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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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