The last year has been a time of tremendous change and many challenges in quality measurement with the expansion of requirements for electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) reporting. The Joint Commission believes that care processes and patient outcomes can be improved and sustained only through the gathering and analysis of performance data and by an organized and comprehensive approach to performance improvement. In 2016, The Joint Commission created the Pioneers in Quality™ program to assist hospitals in their adoption of eCQMs. This year, we begin our report, America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety – The Joint Commission’s Annual Report 2017, by recognizing the first hospitals that have successfully leveraged eCQMs and health IT to drive quality improvement.
Joint Commission-accredited hospitals could select and report performance data on 23 different eCQMs in eight measure sets during 2016, and we aligned these requirements as closely as possible to those for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program. This year, 470 Pioneers in Quality™ Data Contributors voluntarily provided 2016 eCQM data to The Joint Commission. Of these hospitals, 11 were named Solution Contributors by submitting a proven practice to The Joint Commission’s Proven Practices Collection, and nine achieved the status of Expert Contributors by advancing the evolution and use of eCQMs.
Hospitals have gained increased confidence in reporting eCQM data, thanks in part to the assistance provided by the Pioneers in Quality™ program, and most plan to report these data in 2017, according to surveys conducted by The Joint Commission.
Meanwhile, Joint Commission-accredited hospitals continue to make strides in performance on our traditional core quality measures. Since 2002, when The Joint Commission began following performance on core quality measures, improvements have been tracked and the bar raised each year. Accountability measures are evidence-based care processes closely associated with positive patient outcomes. A total of 14 core measures were retired by CMS and The Joint Commission at the end of 2015 because performance was consistently very high; this year’s report documents 2016 performance on the remaining 15 different chart-abstracted accountability measures in seven measure sets.
The data summarized in this report represents 17.3 million opportunities to provide evidence-based patient care, and performance continues to be outstanding. Because of the close link between these measures and patient outcomes, we can be confident that these measures are helping to drive quality improvement and lower patient morbidity and mortality.