High Performance on Hospital Quality Alliance Measures Linked to Lower Mortality

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<p>If the lowest-performing U.S. hospitals performed as well as top-performers on specific measures of quality, approximately 2,200 fewer Americans would die each year, according to new research published today in <em>Health Affairs.</em><br><br>For their study, <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=29194&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D509888%26%23doc509888">The Inverse Relationship Between Mortality Rates and Performance in the Hospital Quality Alliance Measures</a>, Commonwealth Fund-supported researchers based at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital examined the relationship between hospitals' performance on Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA) indicators and mortality rates. For each of three medical conditions--acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia--they found that high performance on the HQA measures was associated with 7 percent to 15 percent lower odds of death.<br><br>The Hospital Quality Alliance is a national public-private collaboration to encourage hospitals to voluntarily collect and report information on hospital performance. The three medical conditions included in the initial set of HQA measures constitute more than 15 percent of Medicare hospital admissions.<br><br><strong>Also in the July/August <em>Health Affairs:</em></strong><br>A group of former Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellows in Health Care Policy examine waiting time reduction strategies used in five countries in <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=29193&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D509943%26%23doc509943">Measuring and Reducing Waiting Times: A Cross-National Comparison of Strategies</a>. Lead author Sharon Willcox, director of Health Policy Solutions in Victoria, Australia, teamed up with colleagues to compare policies used in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, and Wales.<br><br>All five countries have employed supply-side strategies like funding increases in hospital capacity and staff. In addition, some have implemented more complex initiatives that address health sector productivity or demand-side techniques, such as having explicit criteria to prioritize access to surgery. Overall, the study concluded that England achieved the most sustained improvement in reducing waiting times, due to "major funding boosts, ambitious wait-time targets, and a rigorous performance management system."</p>