Healthcare News & Insights

Health execs create checklist to improve quality, cut costs

It’s a timeless question: How do hospitals provide the highest standard of patient care while keeping their costs manageable?

To help guide hospital executives in making these decisions, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released a discussion paper written by several health care executives, “A CEO Checklist for High-Value Health Care.”

The checklist was created by those on the front lines – CEOs and senior execs from hospitals across the country, including Geisinger Health System, Kaiser Permanente, Denver Health and Virginia Mason Health System.

The checklist is designed to help hospitals improve patient outcomes by “replacing wasteful practices and procedures with those marked by effectiveness and efficiency,” according to a summary of the report.

Using their real-life knowledge of the healthcare system, the authors came up with 10 key points CEOs should focus on to improve quality in their hospitals while reducing costs.

Items on the checklist are divided into four categories:

1. Foundational elements

  • The board and CEO must place a priority on being visible leaders.
  • Leaders must promote a culture committed to ongoing learning at the hospital.

2.  Infrastructure fundamentals

  • Hospitals must adhere to IT best practices so automated, reliable information relating to each patient’s care is readily available.
  • The hospital must provide effective, efficient and consistent care.
  • Hospitals must optimize the use of their personnel, their physical space, and any other resources they have available.

3. Care delivery priorities

  • There should be a focus on integrated care, making sure that the right care is provided in the proper setting by the appropriate providers. Teamwork is important.
  • Patient-clinician collaboration should be essential when it comes to a patient’s plan of care.
  • For resource-intensive patients, services should be tailored to their unique needs, and may include targeted community and clinic interventions.

4. Reliability and feedback

  • Hospitals need to have embedded safeguards in their policies to reduce injury and infection.
  • Each hospital should have a way to measure its progress in performance, outcomes and costs.

Rather than serving as a “to-do list” for hospitals, the checklist is more along the lines of a mission statement, the authors say. To achieve success, these action items should become key parts of a hospital’s organizational structure.

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