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NJHA: Hospitals Achieve Gains in Healthcare Quality, But Commitment to Improve Continues

PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New Jersey hospitals demonstrated continued advances in healthcare quality improvement last year, according to data released today by the state Department of Health and Senior Services.

That improvement is the result of hospitals' ongoing commitment to healthcare quality. Hospitals statewide have joined with NJHA, the state DHSS and organizations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in a number of efforts targeting improved healthcare for the residents of New Jersey.

"This is a success story -- or rather, one chapter in a success story," said Aline Holmes, RN, NJHA's senior vice president of clinical affairs and director of the NJHA Institute for Quality and Patient Safety. "It shows our unified commitment to patient safety and the results that we can achieve in a collaborative fashion. But the story continues, because the quest to improve healthcare quality is an ongoing one."

The state's data reflects how often hospitals complied with a standard set of accepted care and treatment guidelines. According to the report, the statewide median improved in all four major categories of the report:

-- Compliance with heart attack protocols increased from 96 percent in 2007

to 97 percent this year.

-- Pneumonia compliance rates increased from 92 to 94.

-- Heart failure compliance increased from 91 to 93.

-- Surgical infective prevention compliance increased from 88 to 90.

DHSS officials cited specific improvement in the heart failure measures, citing a recently completed joint project by DHSS and the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy to focus improvement activities at 14 low-scoring facilities. That successful effort was implemented by NJHA's Health Research and Educational Trust and funded by the Health Care Foundation of New Jersey/New Jersey Health Initiatives. The participating hospitals showed significant improvement in this year's data report.

NJHA is now engaged in another targeted effort -- in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation -- to help hospitals address racial and ethnic disparities in heart failure outcomes.

"Hospitals use this statewide data to assess where we've been, where we want to be and, most importantly, to plan strategies to make sure we reach our ultimate goal of providing the best quality care to patients," said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan.

SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association
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