Partnership for Patients: A Common Commitment

Highlands Medical Center participates in VHA Inc. Clinical Design Day as part of CMS-sponsored Hospital Engagement Network

Scottsboro, AL- April 23, 2012 - A three-person team of clinicians from Highlands Medical Center recently participated in a day-long, interactive Clinical Design Day training, held in Birmingham, AL developed and facilitated by VHA Inc.,  the national health care network.  The Clinical Design Day training employs a unique cultural, sociological and anthropological methodology proven to aid hospitals in their efforts to improve patient safety and is a cornerstone of VHA's Hospital Engagement Network or HEN.

"Our approach begins by addressing culture, which has been shown to not only facilitate improvement, but sustain it," said Keith Kosel, PhD, executive director of VHA's HEN initiative. "In the long run, true culture change is the proven catalyst of meaningful improvement."

Hospital Engagement Networks are part of the historic Partnership for Patients initiative launched by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and its Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Participating hospitals are expected to develop, test and share best practices as part of an effort to improve patient safety and reduce the incidence of harm related to ten specific hospital acquired conditions, such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia.  CMS's goal for the Partnership for Patients is to reduce preventable harm by 40% and preventable readmissions by 20% by the year 2013.

Debra Brickley, director of quality at Highlands, expressed her enthusiasm about the hospital's participation in the Partnership for Patients initiative, as well as use of VHA's unique approach to addressing cultural issues as part of the overall improvement process.  "Improving patient safety and clinical outcomes for our patients continues to be our ongoing priority. Our participation in VHA's Clinical Design Day provided us with tools and processes we can use to achieve and sustain our patient safety goals," Brickley said.  "We believe that using the improvement methodology we learned, along with tools such as VHA Leading Practice Blueprints (leading clinical practices from top hospitals across the country), will be essential to our success. Participating in VHA's HEN will help us achieve our patient safety goals faster, as well as contribute toward achieving the Partnership's objectives."

Hospitals participating in VHA's HEN receive continuous support through a Rapid Adoption NetworkTM or RAN, which kicks off with the Clinical Design Day by bringing together numerous hospitals throughout the region that are  committed to rapidly improving their patient safety and clinical quality.  VHA will host 13 RANs nationwide to facilitate clinical improvement in its 200- plus member hospitals participating in the HEN.

"More than 3,000 hospitals across the country are participating in the Partnership for Patients as a way to enhance the safety of patient care while reducing sources of harm," said Dr. Kosel. "This is a tremendous commitment on the part of hospitals like Highlands Medical Center to their patients and their families."


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