OMAHA, Neb. –Alegent Health is taking its vision of delivering world-class health care to new heights through the “QUEST: High Performing Hospitals” program. QUEST—which stands for Quality, Efficiency, Safety and Transparency—is a three year voluntary program where participating hospitals and health systems work together to develop and share best practices for improving performance and raising the bar in the areas of quality, safety and efficiency while at the same time reducing health care costs.
“Alegent Health has already taken great strides to deliver high-quality care and reduce costs for the patients we serve. Through the “QUEST: High Performing Hospitals” program, we will be able to raise the bar on that level of service by partnering with other leading hospitals and health systems who are equally passionate about this quality movement. This study will allow us to more readily achieve our goals and Vision of providing patient-centered care in the communities we serve,” said Alegent Health CEO Wayne Sensor.
The QUEST program is through the Premier Healthcare alliance and is where participating hospitals and health systems will report data on a set of clearly defined performance measures in the following five key areas of hospital performance including:
Mortality Ratio: Measuring against a risk-adjusted model to attain the goal of eliminating all avoidable deaths.
Appropriate Care: Measuring the percentage of patients receiving “perfect care” using nationally recognized evidence-based measures.
Efficiency: Measuring adjusted cost per discharge, including all of the costs associated with each episode of acute care.
Harm Avoidance: Preventing such things as health care associated infections and adverse drug events. While many measures are in place, these measures will develop over time by the program. The participating hospitals will evaluate a number of these measures to identify those that have the greatest impact for use in QUEST.
Patient Satisfaction: Utilizing the CMS Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Care Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction measures for the goal of improving the patient experience and how that can relate to cost, quality and safety.
As part of the three year program, the first year will focus on mortality, appropriate care and efficiency. In year two, the program will analyze harm avoidance and patient satisfaction. Premier will analyze the data, facilitate sharing of best practices and provide incentives for top-performing hospitals. Alegent Health is one of 60 hospitals and health systems that have expressed interest in the study and the goal is to sign up 100 by September 30. The study could begin as early as January, 2008.
The QUEST program builds on the success of the Premier/CMS Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project (HQID) –a highly successful pay-for-performance initiative currently at it’s half-way point by Premier and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. Alegent Health has been involved with HQID study since its inception and continues to be among the top performing hospitals and health systems in the areas of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), pneumonia and hip and knee replacement.
The study also builds on the momentum of hospitals focused on harm reduction in the Institute for HealthCare Improvement’s (IHI) 5 Million Lives Campaign, a voluntary initiative to protect patients from five million incidents of medical harm over the next years (December 2006-December 2008).
Alegent Health is committed to putting consumers at the center of the health care equation, giving them meaningful information on cost and quality to make better health care decisions. In addition to being involved in the HQID study since September 2005, Alegent has been publicly reporting comparative quality data on clinical performance in the areas of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. Also, Alegent Health recently launched My Cost, an innovative online tool that provides consumers with information on projected costs they will incur for nearly 500 common treatments and procedures, along with their out-of-pocket responsibilities. In addition to the cost transparency initiative, in the past year, Alegent Health has launched additional patient care and quality efforts including:
Consumer-driven health care plans for its 8,600 employees
Quick Care clinics to conveniently treat some of the most common ailments facing adults and children in a patient-friendly atmosphere
Implementation of eFocus, the most advanced pairing of high-quality patient care and technology in critical care medicine. The eFocus technology’s early warning software, remote monitoring tools and communication tools provide remote clinicians the information necessary to partner with ICU clinicians as a proactive and integrative team.
Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based health care system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 8,600 employees. Alegent Health is making healthcare better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person consistent with its faith-based mission. Alegent Health continues the health ministry begun by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems, more than a hundred years ago. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, home care and behavioral health.