The head of quality at Tomah Health says hospital quality and safety information is readily available to the public now more than ever. “Our philosophy at Tomah Health has always been to be transparent and publically report any quality data that we are able to,” said Tomah Health Quality director Shelly Egstad, MASL, RN, as the local hospital recognized national Healthcare Quality week recently.
Egstad said the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) CheckPoint website has been a pioneer and visionary in publicly reporting hospital quality and safety information.“This accomplishes a couple of things, including showing our community that we care about quality and holds us accountable when we report the data,” Egstad said. “Obviously, we strive for high marks all the time, but when you know it will be publically reported, there is additional incentive to achieve the goals.”
In 2003, WHA’s board of directors accepted a recommendation from its Task Force on Quality and Accountability to collect and publicly report on the quality of care in hospitals thereby establishing WHA as a national leader. “CheckPoint continues to be a valuable tool for hospitals, clinicians, payers and the public,” said WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding.
Through individual voluntary hospital participation, the CheckPoint program has grown to include over 50 clinical quality measures while the website has become more automated, relieving data entry burden for hospital users, and shifted its measurement approach to include fewer process measures and more outcome measures.
Star ratings are also calculated and added to the website to make it easier for consumers to understand how a hospital compares to others in the state for many of the measures. “Checkpoint uses a three-star system with one star indicating the hospital is below the state average, two stars indicate average and 3 stars are above the state average,” Egstad explained. “At Tomah Health, we are at the state average for all indicators except for two where we exceed the state average including unplanned readmissions and ‘always quiet at night’ which appear on the patient experience survey.”
She said there is a lag time with the data and most of the data displayed now is for care given in 2019. “Based on recent patient experience data we have received, I anticipate we will be at three-stars with the next update,” Egstad said.
WHA officials recently reported in September that CheckPoint was updated with sweeping changes to create a simplified look and feel for the 128 hospitals, including Tomah Health reporting to CheckPoint that provide care to more than 99% of the state’s patient population.
“CheckPoint’s vision from 20 years ago is still relevant today, and positions Wisconsin to maintain its reputation for high-quality health care,” added Borgerding.
Egstad considers the website to be a valuable asset for patients and staff especially when online resources play a larger role in light of COVID-19. “CheckPoint is a great tool for patients and staff to use to see how we compare to other facilities and to gauge if they want to receive care here. I also use it as a recruiting tool when speaking with residents, students and new providers,” Egstad said. “It helps them see what type of an organization we are and that quality is job one.”
As for the future, Egstad said the Quality staff at Tomah Health is in the process of redesigning quality reporting through the development of a hospital wide dashboard with departments required to have quality indicators in place and are held accountable for improvements. “The dashboard is used by administration and leaders in the organization to provide one place where quality data is stored and reported. By being able to see all quality data in one place, the organization can more quickly respond to trends or note opportunities for improvement,” she said.
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