Magazine article Drug Topics

Premier Launches Comprehensive Quality Improvement Project

Magazine article Drug Topics

Premier Launches Comprehensive Quality Improvement Project

Article excerpt

A new project by the healthcare alliance Premier Inc. is an aggressive attempt to develop performance measures that "achieve quality and lower costs simultaneously through utilization of specific performance measures," said Dan Peterson, M.D., W and medical director of Premier, a San Diego-based nationwide alliance of about 1,700 not-for-profit hospitals. "We cant achieve this without the active participation of pharmacists."

"Among the practitioners in a hospital, only one is specifically trained to focus on medication use, and that's the pharmacist," said Kasey Thompson, Pharm.D., director of patient safety at ASHP. "So pharmacists must be involved in any performance measurement initiative such as this one. In most such projects, the vast majority of quality indicators involve medication management."

"QUEST: High Performing Hospitals" is a comprehensive three-year project. Participating hospitals will report data to Premier on clearly defined performance measures related to quality, efficiency, safety, and patient satisfaction. Premier plans to analyze the data, share best practices, and ultimately provide incentives for hospitals in the top quartile. It is now creating an advisory board to help supervise the project and seeking hospitals willing to participate. (QUEST is an acronym for Quality, Effeciency, Safety, with Transparency.)

"We absolutely plan to have pharmacist participation on the advisory board," said Scott Pope, Pharm.D., a project director with Premier. "They will be strongly involved in molding and defining spécifie measures." A number of hospitals have already agreed to participate, including Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa.; the Kettering Medical Center Network of Dayton, Ohio; and North Mississippi Health Services, Tupelo, Miss.

The QUEST project is based on the many principles used in the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project (HQID), the recent pay-for-performance initiative overseen by Premier and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "We intend to build on that program," said Peterson. HQID, begun in October 2003, involved more than 260 hospitals and 33 evidence-based clinical quality measures. Participants submitted data to Premier and CMS on process and outcomes measures in five clinical areas: acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft, pneumonia, and hip and knee replacement. …

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