A to-do list
AHA offers ‘road map’ for hospitals
Integrating information systems and ensuring proper alignment with physicians loom as major priorities for hospitals preparing for the future, according to an American Hospital Association report. Among a list of 10 “must-do” strategies or priorities, they pose the biggest concerns for hospitals, said Jeanette Clough, chairwoman of the AHA committee that compiled the report, which she described as a “road map” for hospitals preparing for the future. Clough is president and CEO of 207-bed Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass.
“The performance improvement committee of the AHA is looking into asking the question of hospitals across the field: What’s the future hospital going to look like and how would we recognize it when we saw it?” Clough said.
The AHA’s 21-member Board Committee on Performance Improvement delivered an answer in “Hospitals and Care Systems of the Future,” but Clough quickly stressed that there are different ways to solve challenges. The AHA took a proactive stance as hospitals wanting to share strategic options as facilities gear up for reform, she said.
Changing the culture of a hospital to accept these changes proves difficult, said committee member Dr. Richard Afable. It could take time. “These are changes that must occur to improve outcomes,” said Afable, president and CEO at 422-bed Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, Calif. “We can’t wait till 2014.”
The committee divided its suggestions into four sections: must-do strategies, “second-curve” metrics, core organizational competencies and self assessments.
Ten must-do strategies were listed, including four key ones: ensuring proper alignment between hospitals, doctors and other stakeholders; using evidence-based practices to improve quality and safety; improving efficiency through productivity and financial management; and developing integrated information systems.
Each strategy is illustrated with a case study. Hoag’s creation of its orthopedic institute in 2010 was one example, showing the successful impact of properly aligning doctors and decreasing patient volume in operating rooms. For hip and knee replacements, the number of hospital-acquired infections dropped—as did costs.
“For us, joint replacement is not about two days sitting in the hospital, but 30 days before the surgery and two days after surgery; that entire thing is our product,” Afable said. Gauging the impact of implementing strategies has changed, he noted. The old ways include counting how many patients suffered blood clots during a procedure. Now there’s more focus on after-care and the patient’s quality of life, Afable said.