Moving toward the future

St. Mary Medical Center named a 2017 Pioneers in Quality Expert Contributor by The Joint Commission

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

At St. Mary Medical Center, quality care for each patient has been the Langhorne-based hospital’s primary focus throughout its 50-year history. In the modern health-care industry, technology is constantly changing, and so must the staff’s ability to adapt and maintain the high level of care the community has come to know.

Medical matters: To improve patient care, St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne is using electronic clinical quality measures to review its practices and find areas for growth and improvement. PHOTO: St. Mary Medical Center

To ensure all physicians, nurses and health professionals are providing the best services possible, St. Mary utilizes electronic clinical quality measures, and was recently recognized by The Joint Commission as a 2017 Pioneers in Quality Expert Contributor.

Earlier this year, The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, put out a request to the field. It was in the process of creating a “Proven Practices Collection” database, and needed hospitals to submit their measured practices. Pam Carroll-Solomon, director of quality at St. Mary, answered the call and submitted the hospital’s practice of utilizing electronic data to implement quality improvement.

Carroll-Solomon explained electronic clinical quality measures are used throughout the health-care industry. Each hospital is required to report its quality measures to certain bodies to maintain accreditation and prove its practices are up to standards. The measures came into the picture when hospitals had to start reporting everything electronically.

“It’s where we’re moving as an industry,” she said.

After receiving submissions from health systems across the country, a Joint Commission panel of clinical and technical experts selected St. Mary as one of only five facilities nationwide to receive the recognition of 2017 Pioneers in Quality Expert Contributor. Criteria for selection included leveraging eCQMs and health information technology to improve care.

The mission behind Pioneers in Quality, a Joint Commission program, is to assist hospitals in eCQM adoption through continuing education webinars and other educational programs, a resource portal and speaker’s outreach bureau. Its goal is to help hospitals accurately reflect the quality of patient care they provide and gain clarity on what can be improved to achieve high performance, all measured through eCQMs.

Since joining the St. Mary staff in 2014 and starting to look at its data in early 2015, Carroll-Solomon has seen quality rates steadily increase over the years, and expects this to continue. Though she is the director, she prides herself on being surrounded by a team that’s constantly working toward moving the hospital forward.

“We’re really trying to affect care at the bedside,” she said. “The efforts of our quality council team have not just focused on the accurate and timely collection of our quality measures data, but ultimately on engaging clinicians, nursing and medical staff on the impact they have related to this data and to patient outcomes.”

As a 2017 Pioneers in Quality Expert Contributor, Carroll-Solomon will present St. Mary’s work to hospitals and health systems across the country as part of a special Joint Commission webinar series, which began Aug. 15. In the segment “Establishing Your eCQM A-Team,” Carroll-Solomon will present on St. Mary’s leadership, eCQM performance and strong physician engagement.

Clinicians can register for the upcoming webinars at jointcommission.org. ••