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In a recent blog post, the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality shed some light on an area of concern for many hospitals: the prioritization of data collection within their QAPI program. Hospitals are constantly working to monitor, report on and improve patient safety and quality of care, many of them collecting data on hundreds of performance indicators, but it’s impossible to monitor every single area.

This is where prioritization of data collection comes into play. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects hospitals to prioritize high-risk, high-volume or problem-prone areas, but unfortunately, the agency is not specific on what areas qualify as such. However, the CIHQ suggests prioritizing performance indicators that are frequently cited for not being incorporated into a hospital’s QAPI program, such as:

Medication Use

  • Sterile Compounding and IV Admixture
  • Management of Hazardous Medications
  • Medication Administration Practices for High-Risk Meds

Infection Prevention & Control

  • Sterilization of Instruments & Supplies
  • High-Level Disinfection of Instruments & Supplies
  • MDRO and Isolation Practice
  • Disinfection and Cleaning of Dialysis Machines & Equipment

Physical Environment

  • Environmental Controls of Sensitive Areas (Temperature, Humidity, Air Balance)
  • Maintenance and Operation of Critical Medical and Utilities Equipment
  • Life Safety System Testing and Maintenance
  • Implementation of Interim Life Safety Measures
  • Protection Against Radiation Hazards

Food & Nutritional Services

  • Food Service Preparation, Storage, and Cleanliness

Clinical Services

  • Ordering Restraint & Seclusion
  • Monitoring of Patients in Restraint & Seclusion
  • Administration of Blood & Blood Products
  • Protection of Patients at Risk of Self-Harm
  • Administration of Sedation / Anesthesia
  • Surgical and Invasive Procedures

While we support CMS and CIHQ in urging focus on certain performance indicators when a limited number can be tracked and addressed, hospitals should be very careful about reducing the number of tracked indicators due to time and resource constraints, because that could potentially have a damaging effect on the organization. The motivation to do so is often present and understandable, when hospitals are utilizing inefficient and labor-intensive performance tracking processes and tools. This is precisely the fundamental issue that Prista’s ActionCue CI application was designed to address.

ActionCue CI is your Fast Path to Insight™, monitoring all 19 performance indicators listed above and more, right out of the box. Its intuitive online dashboards provide critical QI/PI information to those who need it, when they need it. With gains in efficiency and productivity from using ActionCue CI, staff can carry out the quality, safety and improvement activities of the hospital, and cover and drive improvement on a larger number of measures, reducing the chances of being blindsided by a clinical performance issue or a derogatory survey finding.

In addition to comprehensive and efficient data collection, ActionCue helps hospitals take real actions to improve patient care, allowing staff to quickly investigate event causes and manage corrective actions through electronic event reporting. Many hospitals see significant increases in staff participation, communication and cooperation.

While it’s certainly important to take all necessary steps to avoid a CMS citation, ActionCue helps hospitals take quality and performance improvement a step further by truly creating a “Culture of Quality,” representing a collective and sustained commitment by organizational leaders to emphasize safety every single day.

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