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NJHA Quality Institute Wins Federal Designation
Date:1/15/2010

Only Organization in N.J. Named a 'Patient Safety Organization'

PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New Jersey Hospital Association's Institute for Quality and Patient Safety has been designated a "patient safety organization" by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. As New Jersey's only PSO, the Institute will take a leading role in quality improvement activities among New Jersey hospitals and other healthcare providers.

The creation of PSOs was authorized under the federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. They are designed to help clinicians, hospitals and other healthcare organizations improve the care they deliver to patients by encouraging them to conduct quality and safety analyses.

"We are proud and honored to be recognized by the federal government as New Jersey's sole patient safety organization," said Betsy Ryan, NJHA president and CEO. "We are deeply committed to making healthcare better for the people of New Jersey, and we're eager to expand our work with New Jersey hospitals and other healthcare providers in this very important effort."

NJHA's many quality activities are overseen by its Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, founded in 2002 as part of NJHA's nonprofit affiliate, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey. Under the leadership of Aline Holmes, RN, NJHA's senior vice president of clinical affairs, the Institute has gained national and international recognition for its efforts, sharing its results and findings with healthcare professionals in England, Canada and across the United States.

"As a nurse, I know how committed our healthcare professionals are to providing safe, quality care to their patients," said Holmes. "But I also know that no system is perfect and that there are always opportunities to improve. I'm very excited to put this new PSO designation to work here in New Jersey and take our quality efforts to an even higher level."

The PSO designation will give the Institute additional resources and support from AHRQ. The Institute will have greater protection to gather healthcare data in a secure environment – protected by legal privilege and confidentiality standards – and compare that information with quality data collected by PSOs nationwide. It will give New Jersey a powerful new set of information to determine areas for improvement, plan focused activities to address those areas and assess the results of those activities. Through the new PSO, New Jersey's data also will be included in AHRQ's annual National Healthcare Quality Report.

The Institute also will be monitored by AHRQ, assuring that it continues to meet the agency's standards and expectations.

"We know that clinicians and healthcare organizations want to participate in efforts to improve patient care, but they often are inhibited by fears of liability and sanctions," said AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy, MD. "PSOs facilitate a shared-learning approach that supports effective interventions to reduce risk of harm to patients and improve quality."

NJHA's Institute has mounted numerous successful initiatives in improving care and increasing patient safety. They include:

  • The Collaborative to Improve Quality of Care and Patient Safety in the ICU, which addresses care in hospital intensive care units. The initial collaborative, completed in 2006, achieved a 73 percent reduction in central-line bloodstream infections among ICU patients and a 55 percent reduction in ventilator-associated pneumonia. Based on average mortality rates, those two improvements prevented  a potential 216 patient deaths. The success of the first collaborative led to an encore offering, launched in 2008.
  • The Collaborative to Reduce the Incidence of Pressure Ulcers, which worked with hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers to focus on pressure ulcers, commonly called bed sores. The collaborative achieved a 70 percent reduction in the incidence of pressure ulcers over two years.
  • The Rapid Response Team Collaborative, which helped hospitals design and implement rapid response teams to answer immediately when a patient fell into life-threatening distress. The effort achieved an 11 percent decline in inpatient mortality rates and also improved response times.

Other efforts from the Institute have addressed drug-resistant infections, cardiac care, healthcare disparities, perinatal care and patient falls. To learn more about the NJHA Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, log on to www.njha.com/qualityinstitute/index.aspx. For more on AHRQ's patient safety organizations, visit www.pso.ahrq.gov.

SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association

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SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association
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