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It’s Heart Month: Here are Three Ways Hospitals are Improving Cardiovascular Care

Key takeaways:

  • Hospitals today are leveraging actionable data and benchmarks to inform strategy and transform cardiovascular care.
  • Unbiased, standardized data that has been benchmarked against similar peers can help hospitals understand areas of opportunity in the high-profile cardiovascular service line.
  • By analyzing cardiovascular quality measures, data and the PINC AI 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals program reports, hospitals can identify opportunities to improve patient care and outcomes and make a positive impact on their communities.

Every February, America celebrates heart month and strives to educate people on the importance of heart health.

Despite the education efforts, cardiovascular disease is still one of the nation’s leading causes of death. In 2021, deaths due to heart disease rose to 695,000 lives—one every 33 seconds. From 2018 to 2019, heart disease cost the U.S. about $239.9 billion each year.

The cardiovascular quality measures designed to improve patient‐relevant outcomes, such as mortality, hospital readmission and patient experience, have undergone rapid evolution over the past three decades. Hospitals and health systems are leveraging new types of actionable data, informed reports and robust quality dashboards to benchmark their efforts against peers, improve overall cardiovascular care and develop strategies to inform future quality improvement efforts.

One way to utilize data is through hospital reports, a balanced scorecard of metrics provided by the PINC AI 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitalsprogram and other PINC AI solutions. The 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitalsstudy itself is far more than a list of high-performing cardiovascular providers; it is a benchmarking study focused on outcomes. All hospitals, regardless of performance, can review the data that shows how top performing hospitals have achieved an outstanding balance of clinical and operational excellence, providing a clear path for others to follow.

During Premier’s 2023 Breakthroughs (BRK) Conference and Exhibition panel discussion, several hospitals and health systems shared their top secrets for improving their hospital’s quality and cardiovascular care and achieving the PINC AI 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals designation.

Here are three ways that hospitals are leveling up their cardiovascular care and the PINC AI solutions that are fueling their efforts.

1. Establishing Cardiovascular Service Line Goals and Strategy

Not only are hospitals and health systems focused on growth, but they also put a lot of time and energy into developing goals and strategies aimed at reducing length of stay (LOS), readmissions, and improving patient care and outcomes. They rely on standardized, connected data to provide actionable insights for benchmarking against their peers and identifying areas ripe for quality improvement.

One health system wanted to be ‘at the top’ in providing cardiovascular care. To do so, Kettering Health’s entire cardiology team banded together to set their five-year goals, and the team agreed the PINC AI 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals designation gave an objective and balanced scorecard to inform their overall goals and strategy.

The team accepted the PINC AI 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals designation as their true North Star, as they believe the data from the program is the most recent data reflective of their work, quality improvements, and overall patient safety and outcomes.

“Our whole cardiac team got together, all the surgeons and the cardiologists, and I asked them where they wanted to be in five years?” said Marcy Vixie, System Executive Director of Patient and Quality Safety, Kettering Health. “They replied with ‘at the top,’ and so we made the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals designation our North Star, worked to achieve the designation, and six years later, we’re still maintaining that designation."

2. Attracting and Retaining Top Cardiovascular Talent

Currently, hospitals and health systems are facing workforce management challenges and a shortage of healthcare workers unlike in past decades. PINC AI data has shown that providers have been increasing pay for qualified clinical teams, impacting their already-thin profit margins.

Tackling challenges like these can be complicated and hospitals and health systems are getting creative in how they attract and retain top clinical and operational staff.

According to Donna Sabol, Senior Vice President, Chief Quality Officer, St. Luke’s University Health Network, and a BRK panelist, their organization is touting their PINC AI 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals program win and other designations to inform potential new clinical staff of the training they will receive by working at a top-quality designated health system.

In addition, they leverage quality designations as opportunities to celebrate and highlight their team’s achievements. They place an emphasis on celebrating all staff from administration and support to the cardiologists providing the evidence-based cardiovascular care.

They found, just like this study, that motivated and engaged staff can help improve an organization’s quality outcomes. When teams operate like well-oiled machines in lockstep with one another, it helps promote culture, structural empowerment and professional growth, ultimately leading to clinical excellence.

3. Improving Quality and Performance in Cardiovascular Care

Hospitals and health systems need reliable, unbiased quality data and reports that provide actionable insights that can inform and help them benchmark their quality improvement efforts.

The PINC AI 100 Top Hospitals program has been working to provide hospitals with their risk, wage and severity-adjusted data compared against a cohort of their peers for more than two decades. This data, which includes a five-year comparative trend analysis, helps add context and depth to a hospital’s performance information, allowing them to prioritize quality improvement efforts.

Quality Improvement teams can leverage several PINC AI solutions to help improve overall hospital quality performance.

Kettering Health’s Marcy Vixie indicated during the BRK panel that their team leverages the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals program designation as a benchmarking tool to compare their performance against similar peer hospitals. In addition, the team leverages the quality dashboards and informed reports to review trends in outcomes and review monthly data that sheds light on key quality areas for improvement.

“We pay a lot of attention to the 100 Top program data. It is our number one benchmarking tool and outside review for comparison,” said Marcy Vixie, System Executive Director of Patient and Quality Safety, Kettering Health. “Being a 100 Top Hospital is a goal for each one of our hospitals at Kettering Health. The designation is viewed as a reflection of the top-quality care provided and is considered a win every single time.”

Focusing on improving quality and overall cardiovascular care can certainly help improve hospitals’ and health systems’ outcomes and help secure trust from the patients and communities which they serve.

Improving cardiac care can be a challenge, but gaining access to national unbiased data, quality dashboards and benchmarked reports can streamline quality improvement efforts and optimize operational efficiencies.

Hospitals and health systems looking to gain better visibility into their quality performance and how they compare to their peers on a national level are looking at the PINC AI 100 Top Hospitals® program and its suite of designations from the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals to the 15 Top Health Systems.

For more on this topic:

  • Download the complete PINC AI 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals program study.
  • Learn how the PINC AI100 Top Hospitals® program can assist your hospital or health system in quality improvement, benchmarking and strategy development.

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