On April 1, 2005 the Hospital Quality Alliance began releasing
information on hospital performance related to healthcare
processes to the public through a new consumer website, Hospital Compare
purpose of reporting this information is to improve the quality
of care all hospitals provide and to give consumers additional
information to consider when accessing healthcare services.
Hospital Compare will focus on data that hospitals nationwide
have voluntarily submitted in a consistent manner. Initially,
these measures relate to three common conditions affecting
patients: heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. In the
future, the site will expand to cover more conditions.
What do initial findings indicate about OLOL?
Our Lady of the Lake consistently ranks in the top fifty percent
of all hospitals measured and in many cases matches the
performance of the top ten percent of hospitals across the
country. We are pleased with this initial data and believe this
is a good starting point for measuring our continued improvement.
In fact, OLOL was recognized as a Top 100 Hospital in the Nation
in 2004 for Performance Improvement by Solucient®, a leading
provider of strategic business and clinical information for the
healthcare industry. This national initiative gives us another
resource by which to measure our ongoing efforts in quality
What steps is OLOL taking to ensure quality?
Quality initiatives are related to outcomes, processes and
patient safety. Our Lady of the Lake has made a significant
investment in technology that supports our clinical practice and
processes as well as patient safety. Using state-of-the-art
software technology, caregivers and multidisciplinary teams use
the clinical information system to reinforce practice throughout
the organization. For example, when patients identified as
smokers are admitted, there are triggers in the system to alert
physicians and staff treating the patient to provide information
on smoking cessation. OLOL has also implemented bar-coding, a
scanning system that helps nurses ensure the right medication is
given to the right patient. While technology cannot replace
trained professionals, technology-based checks do provide a
reliable reminder system to enhance care to patients improving
the communication between physicians, nurses, technicians,
pharmacists and any person providing care.
Physicians are involved in every aspect of the hospital's quality
initiatives. Physician-led teams are in place to address each
project or process, make recommendations for improvement and
How should the consumer use this new information?
These comparative quality measures are another
resource consumers can use when selecting a healthcare facility.
But caution should be taken that this data is not the only
criteria for selection. Other considerations, such as matching
the services and specialties of a hospital to needs, selecting a
facility that accepts one's insurance and determining where one's
physician has admitting privileges are also important. Our Lady
of the Lake believes that this new comparative information allows
consumers to be better educated about their healthcare options
and is a springboard for dialogue between patients and their
physicians. More informed patients are better able to actively
participate in their care.