Patients Guide to Quality Hospital Care

Courtesy Hartford HospitalEnsuring patient safety and the highest quality of care is a daily mission for Connecticut hospitals.  Connecticut hospitals are among the best in the nation, aided by a willingness to share information about patient safety and quality initiatives. They are constantly reviewing and improving procedures, implementing best practices, and learning from each other and leading authorities on patient care and safety.  Connecticut hospitals are participating in many statewide and national initiatives to improve care and safety; these include efforts to prevent pressure ulcers (bed sores), patient falls, infections, and ventilator-associated pneumonia, to reduce surgical site infections, improve heart attack care, and reduce racial, ethnic, and language barriers to care.

Helping the Patients and Consumers Make Informed Decisions

When it comes to making healthcare decisions, it is important for patients to have useful information from reliable sources---information that will help them take an active and effective role in their own care.  One type of information that patients should seek is reliable hospital quality performance reporting data.  Today there are many commercial sources of comparative data, and there are also state and federal government websites providing comparative quality data. 

Connecticut hospitals have a long-standing commitment to measuring and publicly reporting hospital quality and safety information.  Connecticut was the first state in the nation to have 100% of its hospitals voluntarily reporting quality data to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); and Connecticut hospitals, through CHA, were among the first in the country to develop a quality performance reporting system that provided information directly to patients and consumers. 

Since the universe of hospital quality performance measures is constantly growing and changing, CHA convened a work group of quality professionals, physicians, nurses, and patients to examine the available measures and recommend how the CHA website should be expanded further to provide better, more useful consumer and patient information. 

There are over 300 quality performance measures that can be used by hospitals to track their own performance.  While all these performance measures are important to hospitals—where they are used as tools to assess and improve quality of care and to help identify potentially preventable complications for patients—they may not be particularly useful to consumers.  We have focused on developing materials that help consumers understand what questions to ask and what to look for when they get admitted to a hospital—so A Patient’s Guide to Participating in Quality Hospital Care was developed to provide patients with the information and tools they need to ensure a high quality, safe hospital experience.