Use tools to improve core measure results

Do you want to improve both core measure results and the consistency of patient care at your hospital? Your No. 1 goal should be to find ways to make it easier for caregivers to make the correct choices, says Steve Osborn, CPHQ, vice president of clinical quality and patient safety at Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie, PA.

Here are two effective strategies for the pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and acute myocardial infarction core measures being collected by the organization:

1. An order set for pneumonia is used.

The order set ensures that clinicians will collect blood cultures, give the correct antibiotic, and administer the pneumococcal vaccine, Osborn says. "If the physician follows it, they will cover every one of the core measures. So just by the physicians using the order set, we are influencing that the right thing will happen."

2. The American College of Cardiology’s Guide-lines in Applied Practice system is utilized.

For both the congestive heart failure and the acute myocardial infarction core measures, pre-printed order sets were created and educational programs were developed for patients. "We’ve created educational tools to help the team make sure that the patient gets the right education," Osborn explains.

The Guidelines in Applied Practice system includes an individualized patient contract given to all patients upon discharge. The contract is filled out and signed by the patient, and addresses medications, smoking cessation, and lifestyle changes. "This makes the patient accountable for managing the disease," he stresses.

"That is a great thing to do for your patient, and it also indirectly helps you with your core measures."