When quality is the system
It's all in the system. Like the one that BIDMC has implemented to avoid antibiotic overuse or misuse.
It's common approaches to problems like that which helped land CareGroup -- and its lead hospital Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center -- on the Thomson Reuters list of the nation's 10 top health care systems.
While CareGroup is now principally a bond-holding company, the bonds forged from its 1996 creation still hold true in some clinical relationships.
That is particularly true when it comes to quality issues involving BIDMC, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham as well at Mt. Auburn and New England Baptist hospitals.
"There is a healthy exchange of ideas in terms of identification and problem solving," says Dr. Ken Sands, BIDMC's senior vice president of healthcare quality. "If I come up with an issue, it is a very useful collegial support for me to be able to call one of my counterparts at Mount Auburn Hospital or (New England) Baptist Hospital and get an example of a best practice and incorporate that."
In an interview with Modern Healthcare, Sands pointed to an antibiotic-stewardship program that requires physicians to seek approval from infectious-disease experts to order certain expensive antibiotics. Those rules are programmed into the electronic ordering system, alerting providers about when an antibiotic they wish to prescribe is on the restricted list.
Recently, Sands discussed the program with his counterpart at Mount Auburn, which he says plans to roll out a similar program.
Thomson Reuters evaluated 285 health systems, comprising 1,944 hospitals, with an average of 6.8 hospitals per system. To be included in the study, systems had to have at least two acute-care hospitals with a minimum of 25 beds each.
The systems were evaluated on eight measures of clinical quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. The 10 Top Systems performed better than peer systems on all but one measure. The 30-day readmission rate was a virtual tie: 21.0 percent for top systems, compared with 20.9 percent for peer systems.