Joint Commission: Hospitals make gains in quality

satisfaction scores
Capturing quality.

Hospitals across the United States report better safety scores--so much so that the Joint Commission will no longer track certain measures.  

The Joint Commission, which measured (.pdf) safety at 3,300 hospitals nationwide over the past year, found great improvement in a number of categories, including care of pediatric patients with asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, stroke care and venous thromboembolism (VTE) care. Indeed:

  • More than 87 percent of hospitals had a treatment plan for asthma in place for pediatric patients, an increase from about 84 percent five years ago.
  • Nearly 98 percent of hospitals met the marks for appropriate stroke care, up from just under 95 percent in 2011. As a result, the Joint Commission said it retired seven of eight stroke care accountability measures at the end of last year.
  • More than 95 percent of hospitals provided appropriate VTE care, which jumped from 90 percent in 2011. The Joint Commission retired three of the four accountability measures late last year as a result.

“Accredited hospitals have continued to improve the quality of the care they provide, and the data that hospitals collect help them identify opportunities for further improvement," Joint Commission Chief Executive Officer Mark R. Chassin, M.D.,  said in a statement.

The Joint Commission also released a list of 39 hospitals it listed as “Pioneers in Quality.” The hospitals that received the designation used electronic health records to gather quality data and submit it to the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, demonstrating effective use of electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs). A Joint Commission report issued earlier this year indicated that many hospitals may have been overstating their ability to submit eCQMs.

Altogether, the composite score for the participating hospitals in all measures indicated that 93.7 percent were compliant in 2015. While that is down from the 97.2 percent composite compliance rate reported in 2014, the Joint Commission said the retirement of many of the stroke and VTE accountability measures prompted much of the decline. By comparison, the composite score was only in the low 80 percentages when the Joint Commission began the survey in 2002.