News Briefs

New Jersey hospital wins Baldrige award

Until St. Louis’s SSM Healthcare broke the barrier in 2002, no health care system had won the coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Now there are four.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, NJ, is the most recent winner. Among the achievements for which it was honored, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital got its highest marks for customer loyalty; dramatic reductions in emergency department waiting times; surpassing national averages on a number of key quality indicators; and increasing retention rates for registered nurses to 99%.

Other previous health care winners include Baptist Hospital Inc. of Pensacola, FL, and St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, MO (2003).

Massachusetts launches E-health initiative

The state of Massachusetts is pursuing a new framework for achieving universal adoption of computerized physician order-entry (CPOE ) systems by the state’s hospitals within a few years.

A report from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative presents a plan for overcoming cost and other barriers to CPOE implementation, including minimum performance standards and a funding and incentive model.

"The vision is to position every Massachusetts community and teaching hospital on the leading edge of technology to support the highest quality and most cost-effective patient care," said Ron Hollander, Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA) president, at the announcement of the initiative. He noted MHA has been part of the collaborative since its inception and played an integral role in setting its goal of getting every hospital access to current, compatible CPOE within four years.

AHRQ releases new diabetes care guide

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in partnership with the Council of State Governments, has released Diabetes Care Quality Improvement: A Resource Guide for State Action and a companion workbook, both of which are designed to help states assess the quality of diabetes care and develop quality improvement strategies.

"As the lead federal agency supporting research in the quality, cost-effectiveness, and safety of health care, AHRQ is arming health care professionals, policy-makers, and local leaders with evidence-based information designed to facilitate improvements in diabetes care," said AHRQ director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, in announcing the publication.

The guide and workbook provide an overview of the factors that affect quality of care for diabetes, present core elements of health care quality improvement, assist state policy-makers in using the data from AHRQ’s 2003 National Healthcare Quality Report for planning state-level quality improvement activities, and provide a variety of best practices and policy approaches that national organizations, the federal government, and states have implemented related to diabetes quality improvement.

The workbook includes six modules developed for state leaders as well as officials in state health departments, diabetes prevention and control programs, and Medicaid offices.

Some modules are targeted for senior leaders responsible for making the business case for diabetes quality improvement and taking action, while other modules provide the information necessary for program staff to develop and implement a quality improvement strategy.

The goal is that all groups involved in diabetes care work together as a team to improve the quality of diabetes care.

Diabetes Care Quality Improvement: A Resource Guide for State Action and its companion workbook can be found on-line at

Printed copies may be ordered by calling (800) 358-9295 or by sending an e-mail to

Prepare your facility for an unusual flu season

Vaccine shortages may wreak havoc with EDs

With the unprecedented shortage of influenza vaccine this flu season, hospitals are scrambling to prepare for what may be a record number of flu patients presenting to their already overcrowded emergency departments (EDs) and for staff shortages due to record absenteeism. After almost half of the United States’ planned vaccine supply was contaminated, high-risk candidates — including the very young, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, the immunocompromised, and health care workers with direct patient care — have been identified as those to receive the vaccine.

In response to the national shortage, Thomson American Health Consultants has developed an influenza sourcebook to ensure you and your hospital are prepared for what you may face this flu season.

Hospital Influenza Crisis Management will provide you with the information you need to deal with ED overcrowding, potential liability risks, staff shortages, and infection control implications for staff and patients.

This sourcebook will address the real threat of a potential pandemic and the proposed response and preparedness efforts that should be taken in case of such an event. Major guidelines and recommendations for influenza immunization and treatment are included, along with recommendations for health care worker vaccination and the efficacy of and criteria for using the live attenuated influenza vaccine.

Hospital Influenza Crisis Management will offer readers continuing education credits. For information or to reserve your copy at the price of $199, call (800) 688-2421. Please reference code 64462.