Michael R. Ripchinski, M.D.
Our patients have benefited from our efforts to continually improve the quality of care we provide. The hard work and dedication of our physicians, advanced practice providers and the entire care team is essential to our success, including our recent five-star rating from CMS (See story below.). I want to celebrate and thank you for your many contributions.
Q. What are LG Health’s quality goals for this fiscal year?
A. Our top priority is to continue to reduce both 7- and 30-day readmissions. This is a true systemwide effort involving not just the hospital but our LGHP practices and independent practices in our Clinically Integrated Network. We are working together to improve transitions of care, especially emphasizing clear communication around handoffs.
Preventing health-care associated infections is another priority area. This too is a team effort, since infections can present in our outpatient centers and practices following a procedure or surgery. Improving our Likelihood to Recommend scores is another priority that is closely related to quality.
Q. How do LG Health’s quality goals relate to Penn Medicine’s overall system goals?
A. LG Health’s goals align with Penn Medicine’s overall quality goals, which are to reduce risk-adjusted mortality, infections and readmissions. Our quality strategy is based on Penn’s Blueprint for Quality and Patient Safety. The blueprint focuses on three imperatives: engagement (which includes improving the patient experience both in the hospital and practices), continuity (which includes reducing readmissions and increasing access) and value (which includes chronic disease management and prevention).
Q. Midway through the fiscal year, how are we doing on our quality goals?
We are on track to meet our patient experience goal. We are performing better than goal on our 7- and 30-day readmissions. We still have opportunities to reduce infections.
Specifically around readmissions, we are focused on improved discharge instructions to certain patient populations. Focused items for follow-up in the discharge summaries from our hospitalists are a big help here. Our practices are seeing patients quickly for transition of care visits. We are increasingly involving pharmacists to improve medication reconciliation for patients at high risk for readmission. And we are working with the post-acute network to effectively manage patients, thereby reducing the need for readmission.
Q. What are some of our recent successes?
A. LG Health has recently received national recognition for our quality efforts. This recognition is based on publicly available quality and safety data, such as infection rates and complications after surgery.
The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health-care rating organization, recently recognized LGH’s outstanding commitment to patient safety by awarding a Hospital Safety Grade of “A.” Physician contributions to these efforts include utilizing the electronic medical record, working to improve patient experience and putting practices in place to prevent errors.
Our Accountable Care Organization, LG Health Community Care Collaborative, is also performing in the top quartile nationally. This is due in large part to physician engagement around patient experience, decreased utilization, and chronic disease management and prevention.
Q. What is the physician’s role in achieving our quality goals?
Physicians drive our quality and safety efforts. Your leadership is the key to sustaining our successful efforts and ensuring that we deliver quality and safety in our community. Physicians also are key players in engaging and leading their teams in continuous improvement. By working together, we will create a consistently reliable health system where you want to work and bring patients.
Q. There are so many quality measures. How do I know what is most important?
As a system, we focus not on the hundreds of different quality measures but on things that really matter. That’s why we have implemented continuous improvement and crew resource management training in our ORs. Also, remember that if you are in the CIN/ACO, LG Health will do your quality reporting for you. That is just one upside of working together.