• 530.541.3420 | 2170 South Avenue, S. Lake Tahoe, CA
Barton Memorial Hospital

Christine O’Farrell, RN: Measuring Hospital Quality

When we go to the hospital, we typically don’t think about the processes and systems in place that ensure our quality of care. Meanwhile, behind the scenes are hundreds of people working to improve the overall patient experience, and reinforce the quality and safety of the care we receive.

Quality in healthcare means providing the care the patient needs when the patient needs it, in a safe and effective manner. Quality healthcare also means engaging and involving the patient, so they take ownership in preventive care and in the treatment of diagnosed conditions.

Barton’s pneumonia reduction program is an example of a system that improves quality of care while working with the patient. In 2016, the hospital started to give hygiene education and toothbrushes to patients pre-operatively and performed oral care four times per day during their hospital stay to help reduce the bacteria in their mouths that could contribute to pneumonia. This program was administered across all in-patient departments, resulting in system-wide reduction in pneumonia cases; from six cases in 2015 to zero cases in 2016.

Every day, Barton Health team members contribute to our community’s care by leading continuous improvement initiatives. At any given time, the hospital is implementing, monitoring, and analyzing existing and new processes and outcomes, and integrating new evidence-based practices into its healthcare delivery to limit risk and keep patients safe.

Hospitals operate under strict state and federal guidelines and are highly regulated for standards in quality, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Joint Commission, and California Title 22.  The data from these measurements show how well hospitals perform on quality standards.

Not only do Barton team members work to improve the overall patient experience, but also the quality and safety of the care we provide. And that's something worth celebrating. By working together to put systems in place that ensure quality of care and patient safety, we have become a leader in many of the categories that hospitals across the nation are measured by.

Barton Health is proud to lead the nation in Sepsis care, and rank among the top 10 percent of hospitals in the nation caring for Sepsis patients. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body's response to an infection. If untreated it can rapidly progress to septic shock and even death. By implementing an early detection and treatment plan, care providers are able to respond quickly and improve the chances for survival.

Chart reflecting Barton Memorial Hospital's percentage of patients who received appropriate care for severe sepsis and septic shock (84%) vs the California Average (59%) and National Average (55%).
Data provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show Barton Health ranking above the state and national performance of care for patients who received appropriate care for severe Sepsis and Septic Shock. For this measure, the rate of care for the top 10 percent of hospitals was 78 percent, and Barton’s quality measures for this care are at 84 percent.

October 20-26, Barton is celebrating National Healthcare Quality Week and salutes each and every person in our health system who help us provide safe, high-quality care for our community.

Christine O’Farrell, RN, BSN, CHPQ, CHPRM is Director of Quality Management, Population Health, and Infection Prevention at Barton Health. To see recent industry recognition for providing quality care, and how Barton measures up to others in the state, visit bartonhealth.org/quality.