National Quality Forum Endorses Additional Set of Complication-Related Patient Safety Measures

The following is a recently posted press release from the National Quality Forum (NQF) website provided by Adam K. Levin, Esquire, with the law firm of Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

The National Quality Forum (a voluntary consensus standards-setting organization) has endorsed 12 patient safety measures with a focus on complications. The measures address a range of quality concerns, including falls, pressure ulcers, and healthcare-associated infections.  The measures were evaluated as part of NQF’s patient safety endorsement project, which previously endorsed measures related to medication safety, surgical safety, and care coordination, as well as venous thromboembolism and medication documentation, in June and August 2012, respectively.

“Protecting patients from harm is at the heart of NQF’s work to improve healthcare quality,” said Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, senior vice president for performance measures at NQF. “These endorsed measures will have a significant impact on national patient safety efforts by helping providers measure, report on, and ultimately improve the care they deliver.”  Falls and pressure ulcers are considered high-cost and high-volume adverse events. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for individuals aged 65 and older, and it is estimated that patient falls among the elderly will cost over $30 billion by 2020.  Furthermore, there were 257,412 reported cases of Medicare patients who had a pressure ulcer as a secondary diagnosis during hospitalization in 2007, resulting in average healthcare costs of $43,180 per patient.

The measures include those that have been endorsed for at least three years and are now undergoing NQF endorsement maintenance. The ongoing evaluation and updating of endorsed measures ensures they are current, “best in class,” address gaps in existing measures, are synchronistic with national priorities, and enhance NQF’s patient safety portfolio. In all, 21 measures were submitted for evaluation against NQF’s endorsement criteria. Twelve measures – including two new submissions – were endorsed.

“The U.S. healthcare system has made great strides in improving patient safety, yet too many patients still suffer preventable harm,” said William A. Conway, MD, senior vice president and chief quality officer at Henry Ford Health System and co-chair of the Patient Safety – Complications steering committee. “These endorsed measures, addressing some of the most prevalent and devastating complications in care, will be critical to ensuring patients receive safe, compassionate, and high-quality care.”

Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., serves the injured, and their families, in Reading, Pottsville and throughout Pennsylvania.  The lawyers there handle personal injury claims, including claims involving medical malpractice.

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