RSSAuthor Archive for Jaclyn Beck

Jaclyn Beck

Jaclyn is an Associate Editor at HCPro, Inc. She manages three monthly newsletters; Strategies for Nurse Managers, Briefings on Infection Control, and Briefings on Hospital Safety, and manages four ezines; AHAP Staff Challenge, Infection Control Weekly Monitor, Hospital Safety Connection, and Nurse Manager Weekly. She graduated from Gordon College in 2007 where she earned her bachelor's degree in Business.

CMS proposes making hospital performance data public

A new proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would allow the use of Medicare and private sector claims data to produce public reports that evaluate the performance of physicians, other healthcare providers, and suppliers. Organizations seeking such Medicare information would have to undergo an application process and be continually monitored by CMS.

The proposed rule requires that any reports generated from the Medicare data be shared confidentially with providers and suppliers before being released to the public in order to prevent mistakes. Publicly released reports would contain aggregated information only, meaning that no individual patient/beneficiary data.

“Performance reports that include Medicare data will result in higher quality and more cost effective care,” CMS administrator Donald M. Berwick, MD, said in a statement.

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on June 8, and the CMS will accept public comments for 60 days. Until June 8 the proposed rule is available here.

For further analysis, visit HealthLeaders Media.

ANA says ACO regulations should focus more on nursing

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has recommended the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposed rule for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to make place a greater emphasis on professional nursing’s impact on areas of leadership, patient-centered care coordination, and quality. The ANA said the suggestions would maximize patient care and create greater efficiencies and savings.

In written comments to the CMS, the ANA said that the proposed rule does not properly identify and measure nursing services or give enough incentives for care coordination, an essential part of registered nursing practice.

The ANA also expressed concerns that technical aspects of the rule involving the assignment of Medicare beneficiaries to ACOs could possibly deter patients from choosing advanced practice registered nurses as their primary care provider.

The association also encouraged the ACO to modify its rules to include nurses who demonstrate leadership in multiple roles within an organization, and said that such a change would align with recommendations in the 2010 Institute of Medicine/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” that nurses work as full partners with other healthcare professionals in reforming the healthcare system.

Source: American Nurses Association

ANA praises Joint Commission standards for nurse-led medical homes

The American Nurses Association (ANA) issued a press release applauding The Joint Commission for implementing standards that allow nurse-led practices to qualify as primary care medical homes.

Beginning July 1, The Joint Commission will use a set of ambulatory care guidelines to accredit primary care medical homes, a decision the ANA says will give advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) the opportunity to provide services to patients under an innovative care delivery model.

Medical homes have been encouraged by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a way to provide more cost-effective, high-quality, patient-centered care, as well as more choice and access to patients seeking care.

According to a statement on the Joint Commission website, the new primary care medical home (PCMH) option will focus mostly on education and self-management of the patient. Care provided by other clinicians and facilities is tracked and coordinated by a primary care clinician and an interdisciplinary team, and evidence-based treatment practices guide their care. The PCMH opportunity is also aimed at improving patient satisfaction and patient outcomes.

Applications are now being accepted from organizations ready for survey.

Click here to read the ANA news release.

Research shows simple post-surgical step reduces infections

by Matt Phillion, for the AHAP blog

According to the latest edition of the Archive of Surgery, a basic bedside technique of gently probing a surgical incision to clean the area can result in significantly reduced rates of infection, Internal Medicine News reports.

According to the report, over a three year period, researchers assessed surgical site infections in 76 adults who underwent appendectomy for perforated appendicitis at one hospital. Only 3% of the patients who received the gentle probing contracted an infection, while 19% contracted infection in the control group. In addition, those patients who received the probing technique had their length of stay reduced.

Researchers theorized that allowing for drainage of the wound was the reason behind these better results, though they were unsure the precise reason as to why this practice cut down on infections.

Joint Commission and FDA target alarm fatigue

by Matt Phillion, for the AHAP blog, April 22, 2011

The Joint Commission recently told The Boston Globe that it would work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make alarm fatigue a priority.

Alarm fatigue is a concern for many, and it’s no wonder as to why. Our colleagues at the Patient Safety Monitor Journal wrote about the dangers in their March 2011 issue in which Kathryn Pelczarski, director of the applied solutions group at the ECRI Institute, said that a nurse for an ICU might be dealing with 150-400 physiologic alarms per patient per day. A nurse in those units typically has one or two patients, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hear the alarms for all the other patients.

Nurses are hearing hundreds of alarms during their shift, some critical, some less important, with many false alarms, and patient safety is suffering as a result.

The Boston Globe article can be found here; to learn more about Patient Safety Monitor Journal, click here.

Click here to visit the AHAP blog.

Patient experience undefined, but a top priority

A new study by the Beryl Institute, an organization that promotes better patient experiences within the healthcare system, finds that although patient experience is among the top three priorities for hospital executives, patient experience itself is still largely undefined.

The study surveyed more than 790 hospital executives and found that patient experience/patient satisfaction was ranked number two at 21%. Quality/patient safety (31%) was the number one priority, and cost reduction was ranked number three at 9%.

Despite its importance, the majority of hospital executives (73 percent) surveyed said they do not have a formal definition for patient experience. As a result, they are purposefully addressing the issue by examining the state of the patient experience in the nation’s hospitals and identifying the greatest roadblocks to implementing change, with the top three priorities being noise reduction, discharge process and instructions, and patient rounding.

Despite the challenges around the issue of patient experience, nearly 61% felt positive or very positive about their progress in addressing the issue. Forty-two percent of respondents said the most common structure for improving patient experience is a small committee that meets at their facility on a monthly basis.

Hospitals are also turning towards interactive technology to communicate with patients, according to the Beryl Institute’s latest white paper. A study based on six hospitals using technology from San Diego-based Skylight Healthcare Systems, and using scores from industry-standard Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAPS), showed that patient interactive systems has increased patient satisfaction scores by about 10%. Hospital educational materials and courses have increased patient satisfaction by as much as 42%.

Click here to visit the Beryl Institute website and read more information on the patient experience.

Source: Healthcare Finance News

Animated short reminds patients to “Speak Up”

Matt Phillion, for the AHAP blog, April 8, 2011

The Joint Commission’s Speak Up ™ campaign has launched the second in a series of animated shorts aimed at helping patients and their families advocate for safe practices during their care. The latest short targets infection control, specifically hand hygiene.

These shorts are intended to be educational and entertaining, as well as accessible to a wide audience and age range. They can be viewed on The Joint Commission’s YouTube channel.

It is also possible to obtain a downloadable version of the video. For more information, visit The Joint Commission’s web site here.

Thomson Reuters names top 100 U.S. hospitals

Thomson Reuters has announced its annual study naming 100 top U.S. hospitals that have shown it’s possible to walk the fine line that all hospitals are trying to walk in today’s economy—boost patient care and cut costs.

Thomson Reuters researchers evaluated 2,914 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals on their overall organizational performance in 10 key areas: performance in mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average patient stay, expenses, profitability, patient satisfaction, adherence to clinical standards of care, post-discharge mortality, and readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia.

According to researchers, if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in the award-winning facilities:

  • Nearly 116,000 additional patients would survive each year
  • More than 197,000 patient complications would be avoided annually
  • Expense-per-adjusted-discharge would drop by $462
  • The average patient stay would decrease by half a day

Hospitals that made the list include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Fairview Hospital, Cleveland; Blanchard Valley Hospital, Findlay, OH; Sutter Davis Hospital, Davis, CA; and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.

Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, along with five other hospitals on the list, also won the Everest Award for the greatest rate of improvement over five years.

Click here to see the full list.

Source: Thomson Reuters

HHS develops new strategy to improve healthcare quality

The Health & Human Services Department has released the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care, a strategy that was required under the Affordable Care Act, and one that promotes quality health care focused on the needs of patients.

The publication is the first step in the reform towards creating national goals and priorities to guide local, state, and national efforts to improve the quality of healthcare, and aims to make the health care system work better for physicians and other healthcare providers, through things like reducing administrative burdens and fostering collaboration to improve care.

The HHS strategy also calls for the increased use of electronic health records (EHR), which are a foundation for many of the projects that will realize HHS goals.

Click here to view the HHS strategy document.

Source: Government Health IT

AHAP Conference at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

Save the date, and enter our contest, too!

HCPro’s Association for Healthcare Accreditation Professionals (AHAP) is hosting this year’s AHAP conference at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on May 12-13th, 2011. Topics will include regulatory changes for 2011, core measures, risk assessments, and survey readiness, as well as a roundtable discussion where you can share your successes, challenges, and best practices about top accreditation and patient care issues.

Launched in September 2006, AHAP now has close to 500 members. The 2011 conference will be the association’s fifth annual conference, and you don’t have to be a member to attend.  This year’s conference is one you won’t want to miss. It will feature sessions about preparing for both The Joint Commission and CMS surveys, restraint, high risk procedures outside of the OR, effectively presenting data, infection control, as well as patient care, quality improvement, and more!

AHAP is also hosting a contest for best survey preparation tool, policy, or activity. To enter, submit a sample tool, policy, or a brief write-up about a recent (2010-2011) accreditation survey by Friday, April 8th.  Click here to read the full contest rules, and please send all of your entries directly to  The tools can be any examples that have helped you do your job better. Visit the AHAP Blog to see contest entries that have already been submitted. These sample documents will be posted to the AHAP Blog throughout the remainder of the month.