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November 13, 2017

Hospital quality performance and reporting improved last year, Joint Commission finds

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    Hospitals have made significant advances to improve quality performance and reporting, with an increasing proportion of hospitals adopting electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs), according to the Joint Commission's 2017 annual report.

    The Joint Commission is an independent nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 U.S. health care organizations and programs.

    Quality performance

    For the report, the commission reviewed how more than 3,200 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals performed in 2016 on 15 quality measures, spanning seven categories. The commission between 2015 and 2016 retired 14 quality measures for which hospitals consistently reported strong performance.

    Of the seven categories assessed for 2016, the commission found that hospitals earned a composite score of:

    • 98.1% for perinatal care, compared with 57.6% in 2012;
    • 92.1% for inpatient psychiatric services, compared with 89.7% in 2012;
    • 87.7% for tobacco use treatment, compared with 75.8% in 2014; and
    • 82.2% for substance use treatment, compared with 58.2% in 2014.

    The commission did not issue composite scores for the remaining three categories—immunization, stroke care, and venous thromboembolism care—because there was only one accountability measure for each.

    Despite strong performance on the individual care categories, the commission said hospitals' overall accountability score declined in 2016, dropping to 92.4% from 93.7% in 2015. However, the commission said that the decline likely stemmed from the retirement of the 14 measures used in the scoring for 2015, which together represented about half of all their cases in last year's overall score.

    An increase in electronic clinical quality reporting

    Accredited hospitals were also allowed to select and report their 2016 performance on 23 different eCQMs across eight categories. According to the commission, the aim was to align the reporting requirements "as closely as possible" with CMS' Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program.

    According to the report, 470 hospitals submitted eCQM data to the Joint Commission, marking a substantial increase from the 34 hospitals that did so in 2015. The commission wrote that it "expect[s] that the number of reporting hospitals will increase to more than 2,000" in 2017.

    According to the report, most hospitals said they planned to submit eCQM data to CMS in 2018. To help hospitals prepare for CMS' reporting requirements, the commission in the report identified the six most important components for being able to adopt and report eCOMs successfully, including:

    Get the cheat sheets: How hospital quality ratings programs work

    Download our one page sheets for summaries on the methodology and metric categories used in five hospital quality rating programs:

    Get all the Cheat Sheets

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