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Quality Patient Care Initiative Reduces Readmissions

July 31, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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According to Princeton, N.J.-based the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), its national program aimed at improving the quality and safety of patient care in hospitals succeeded in reducing readmissions for 90 percent of the nearly 150 participating hospital teams. The effort is part of RWJF’s Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q), an initiative to improve the quality of healthcare in 16 targeted communities across the country, while providing models of reform.

Participants in the AF4Q hospital quality improvement collaborative saw improved quality of care, according to the RWJF, in a number of ways including hundreds of avoided readmissions, improved patient safety, standardized data collection on patients’ race, ethnicity and language preference (R/E/L), a critical part of tracking and meeting diverse patient needs, and improved emergency department (ED) care.

The participating hospitals also were part of a virtual network which allowed them to develop, share, and implement quality improvement tools, strategies, and lessons learned.

“We know that in every community across America, hospitals are delivering both good health care and bad health care,” Susan Mende, senior program officer at the RWJF, said in a statement. “There are too many mistakes, too much miscommunication, and too much inequity in the care being delivered. Hospitals can do better, and the good news is that we have seen through AF4Q that hospitals are willing to really take stock of what they are doing well and where they could improve, and then take necessary steps needed to deliver the best care possible to their patients.”

According to the RWJF, 60 percent of participating hospitals improved their 30-day readmission rates for heart failure patients. Combined, teams that reduced their readmissions rate avoided approximately 486 readmissions. Seventy-five percent of the hospitals improved their adherence to heart failure care standards.

The hospitals also helped improved language services and reduced crowded EDs. According to the RWJF, 1.5 million patients were screened for preferred spoken language, more than half a million were screened for preferred written language, and more than 4,500 patients had qualified interpreters at both initial assessment and discharge. Meanwhile, 10,000 patients avoided leaving EDs before care was provided.

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