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Community Hospital Participation in a Pilot Project for Venous Thromboembolism Quality Measures: Learning, Collaboration, and Early Improvement

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Background: Participation in national demonstration projects by hospitals provides opportunities for learning, collaboration, and early improvement. A community teaching hospital, Overlook Hospital, part of the two-hospital Atlantic Health system, participated in a pilot project in the United States with The Joint Commission to develop quality measures for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention and management.

The Pilot Project: The VTE project formally began in January 2005, and by January 2007, on the basis of alpha testing to assess face validity and data-collection issues, eight measures were selected for pilot testing. The hospitals tested the quality measures from January through June 2007; data collected included discharges from October 2006 through March 2007. During the pilot, Overlook achieved significant improvements in VTE prevention and management. As a result, in Summer 2007, Atlantic Health developed an organizationwide initiative to improve VTE prevention and treatment.

Discussion: In 2008, the Joint Commission recommended that the VTE measures become a core measure set and be aligned with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services quality measures. Following successful implementation of multiple quality improvement innovations that arose from the pilot project participation, Atlantic Health sustained and expanded its efforts in 2009 to improve performance on eight VTE quality measures.

Conclusions: Participation of a broad range of hospitals, including academic medical centers and community hospitals, in a national pilot project to develop quality measures is critical to ensure that differences in environment, resources, staffing, and patient acuity are accounted for, particularly when the measures are used for public reporting.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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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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