Quality & Patient Safety

The word "quality" isn't new to anyone in healthcare. For years, regulatory agencies such as the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the Washington State Department of Health, and The Joint Commission (TJC) have regulated healthcare quality programs and activities.

Over the past decade, the focus on quality has been sharpened by the call to accountability through TJC's Agenda for Change, the Institute of Medicine's report on medical errors, the National Quality Forum's endorsed safe practices, the demand for value by healthcare purchasers, and the increasing sophistication of the public we serve, to name a few. Performance measures for healthcare have also expanded to include outcome measures such as patient satisfaction and cost as well as conventional clinical measures.

It is no surprise that the public's cry for quality in healthcare services (that which is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable) matches our intent as expressed through mission, vision, and values. At Valley Medical Center and clinic network, we are working to improve clinical, service, and financial outcomes by responding to performance measures and evidence-based practices. Initiatives include:

  • TJC Core Measures (acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia, and pregnancy indicators)
  • Washington statewide initiatives (Clinical Outcomes Assessment Program for PCI [percutaneous coronary interventions], Diabetes Collaborative)
  • Leapfrog Initiatives (National Patient Safety Goals, intensivists in critical care units, preoperative prophylactic antibiotic administration and beta-blocker prophylaxis for at-risk patients, deep venous thrombosis [DVT] prophylaxis)
  • Patient care services performance improvement (PCS PI) initiatives (patient safety, medication management, pain management, and discharge planning)
  • Patient satisfaction measurements (Jackson surveys for inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and clinic settings)

Each of us at Valley Medical Center has the option, every day, to make the choice for quality, to provide the best clinical care and customer service within our capacity. We take this challenge seriously and will detail in the days and weeks ahead our attempts to quantify and measure these efforts on behalf of our patients.