Feb 11 2013

UMHS Quality & Safety website: Support Services Program of the Year

What do our patients think of the care we provide, and the environment we provide it in?

How well do we keep our patients from getting infections or complications related to their care?

How often do we make sure that patients with diabetes, asthma and heart disease get tests and medications that can keep their condition in check?

What’s the survival rate for patients who have transplants or complex operations at UMHS?

How often do our clinicians wash their hands?

The answers to these questions – and many more – can be found on a website that’s open to everyone, anywhere in the world.

It’s all there in the charts, graphs, easy-to-understand explanations and more on www.uofmhealth.org/quality, the UMHS Quality & Safety site.

Putting this huge amount of data on a public website makes UMHS one of the most “transparent” health systems in the country. It’s part of our commitment to patient safety and high-quality care.

That website has just been named Support Services Program of the Year for 2012, and the award was given to the team that built and maintains the site with no additional financial support. They call themselves “Team Transparency”, and they include members of the Performance Assessment & Clinical Effectiveness (PACE) division of the Office of Clinical Affairs, and of the Public Relations & Marketing Communications department. PACE includes members of the former Clinical Information and Decision Support Services (CIDSS) and Customer Performance Metrics & Improvement units.

Working with no additional funding, the team designed the UMHS Quality & Safety site from the ground up to offer comprehensive, easy-to-understand, easy-to-navigate and fully transparent data and information about UMHS clinical performance.  It’s fully integrated into UofMHealth.org, the Health System’s patient-focused web presence.

Teamwork & Collaboration: 

The development, launch and ongoing expansion and maintenance of the site is a true team effort. When they began their work in 2010, the team benchmarked sites offered by other health systems and nonprofit groups, evaluated ways to present data and supporting information, gathered reams of data from clinical information systems and clinical leaders and created layperson-friendly descriptions for all measures. They got feedback from patients and clinical leaders.

Since the public launch in spring 2011, the team has continued to improve the site, publicized its existence internally and externally, and integrated it into the UMHS web environment. The site receives between 2,000 and 4,000 page views a month, almost a third of which are from computers on the U-M medical campus – suggesting that the site is of use to both patients and UMHS staff/trainees alike.

The team is also continuing to update and expand the range of data that is presented on the site. Work is now under way on a major update.

Members of “Team Transparency”, who won the Program of the Year award for support services for building and maintaining the UMHS Quality & Safety website, include, from left: Barb Chapman and Gail Sinwell, Performance Assessment and Clinical Effectiveness (PACE), Kara Gavin and Geoff O’Connor, Public Relations & Marketing Communications (PRMC), and Vinita Bahl and Ed Karls, PACE. Missing are team members Sam Jessie, Cathy Mellett and Chris Africa, PRMC, and Glenn Ogletree and Megan Winningham, PACE.

In today’s environment of growing consumerism among patients, and heightened attention to clinical performance by insurance companies and government coverage plans, the site serves many external audiences. It also helps UMHS clinicians and trainees see how well their areas are performing, and spark conversations on opportunities for improvement.

What’s on the site?

The UMHS Quality & Safety site includes both inpatient and outpatient measures on a broad range of conditions in adults and children. It also provides a wide array of patient satisfaction data, and a range of stories and links related to our quality improvement efforts, leadership in state and national quality efforts, and the awards and honors we’ve gotten for our clinical quality.

Visitors can find far more data than is publicly available through sites such as HHS Hospital Compare, Leapfrog, the Joint Commission, Consumer Reports and sites maintained by the Greater Detroit Area Health Council and Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

For instance, the site offers data from national and regional benchmarking systems that are not public, such as the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ cardiac surgery and esophageal cancer care outcomes, and infection rates from the National Healthcare Safety Network. There’s also data from our internal Patient Safety Culture data, and patient safety measures such as hand washing and radiation exposure.

Most of these data are updated at least semiannually.

Each chart or graph on the site is accompanied by a “Details” section, written in plain English, which explains the information and gives reference information for its source. Many outcomes graphs also include national benchmarks. If national standards are not available, the charts show our own internal goals.

The site takes a “warts and all” approach, publishing data even when UMHS performance falls below the desired level. In those cases, the site explains why this is so and what we are doing to improve.

If you haven’t yet visited the site, take a look. And if you have ideas for more types of data, stories or links that could be added, email umhsquality@umich.edu

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