By Jackie Medland
President/CNO, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital
All of us at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, the Eckerd Living Center and our affiliated practices strive to provide the very best care for our community members. And though it might sound unexciting, data is a primary driver of improving our performance.
Data provides daily, weekly, monthly and yearly “snapshots” about the quality of care we provide. In fact, hospitals and healthcare systems throughout the country are required to make objective clinical outcome information available to the public (see Hospital Compare at medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html?).
We routinely study what’s going well, and when something doesn’t go well, we determine if it’s a one-time, isolated event or if it is indicative of a trend that we should address. Data comes to us in many ways – from fact-based, patient information included in the medical record to anecdotal patient stories. Simply put, data in all of its forms offers us a valuable glimpse into our performance.
An example of how data drives Highlands-Cashiers Hospital’s performance is the recent case of a patient who came to us and ultimately required transfer to Mission Hospital in Asheville. Unexpectedly, the patient experienced a prolonged stay in our emergency department and appropriately voiced concerns when following up after discharge. As a result, we have further refined our triage system (how we determine the urgency of a case for transfer). Every time there’s a concern raised in our community, we conduct a thorough investigation and look at every aspect of the care process from beginning to end. We also compare the patient’s experience and care against rigorous national standards.
Our community can take comfort in knowing that we are a high quality care provider, as noted by a recent recognition by the Chartis Center for Rural Health/iVantage Health. We received a 2017 Performance Leader award for successful outcomes in the areas of quality, safety and low rates of readmission, infection and mortality.
Our performance data, coupled with regular community dialogue, help us create a better health system, together. We will continue to use this data constructively and consciously to make our community stronger and healthier!