In today’s health care system it is clear that there needs to be a multidisciplinary approach toward improving quality. Nurses are on the front lines of implementing this quality improvement. By using the highest quality measurements and optimizing the delivery of care, those outside the nursing community would understand the importance of their role in quality performance.
As frontline providers, nurses are key partners in all initiatives that aim to improve the quality of care delivered to patients. As patient care becomes more complex and pressure to deliver higher quality increases, physicians and hospital administrators are increasingly turning to models of care that are organized around multidisciplinary teams, which emphasize the role of nurses.
To date, more than 100 “pay-for-performance” initiatives have been launched, in both private and public sectors, creating tangible incentives for delivering the highest quality care. One prominent initiative is the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration, jointly sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Premier, an alliance of not-for-profit hospitals and health systems. Two of the top-performing health systems in the Premier demonstration represented at this briefing succeeded in boosting quality for patients in part because they reorganized care in collaboration with nurse administrators.
What are the central ways that nurses contribute to pay-for-performance programs? How do successful programs combine the efforts of many types of health professionals to meet quality goals? What does the future hold for nurses in quality improvement efforts?
To help address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored a May 12, 2006 briefing. Speakers included: Barry Straube, M.D., acting chief medical officer at CMS, and Jack Needleman, associate professor and research scientist at UCLA’s School of Public Health. Also on the panel are two speakers from health systems rewarded for their high quality performance in the CMS – Premier demonstration: Rob Colones, president and CEO of McLeod Regional Medical Center in South Carolina, and Regina Berman, R.N., director of performance improvement at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Sue Hassmiller of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated the discussion.
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