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How one hospital found that reducing complications doesn’t have to be complicated

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Question: What’s better than having performance insights?
Answer: The ability to take real-world action on those insights — and turn them into measurable improvement.

Just ask Sacred Heart Hospital, a 215-bed Catholic medical center located in Allentown, PA.

Thanks to a comprehensive quality improvement solution that provides access to risk-adjusted outcomes of patient care and peer benchmarks, the hospital knew it had an opportunity to improve post-surgery complications. But to find solutions, team members first needed to understand what was keeping them from performing at higher levels.

A closer look
The team at Sacred Heart pulled the charts of patients with surgical complications and dove into line-item details to perform a root cause analysis on outcomes. By comparing and evaluating process-of-care variations, the team was able to separate each incident by its driving factor: coding issue, documentation error or clinical inefficiency.

Coding and documentation issues were addressed through re-training, and through analysis by the lead coder in medical records and the clinical documentation specialist. Meanwhile, a multidisciplinary team was formed to solve for factors contributing to post-surgery complications, from pre-admission testing through hospital discharge.

The result?
Sacred Heart’s complication index went from 1.19 to 0.70 compared to the national norm, and from 3.62 to 2.23 compared to the top 10 percent of medium-sized community hospitals.

To learn more, read the full case study.

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