Today, I am pleased to announce the release of a checklist created by senior leaders and CEO’s from 11 health systems, including HCA—under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine (IOM)—to promote high-value healthcare. The CEO Checklist for High-Value Health Care provides ten strategies to help hospitals reduce waste and improve patient outcomes, and we are honored to be a contributor.

The creation of the checklist comes during an important time for healthcare. Increasingly, those who purchase healthcare are seeking providers that deliver high-value care, and we at HCA understand that there’s a business case for providing high quality, efficient care. I want to talk about two examples (one that we’ve covered previously here at HCA Today) that are examples of two of the ten checklist items: evidence-based care and safeguards to reduce injury and infection. Let’s look at evidence-based care first.

Several years ago, we wanted to know if a baby delivered at 37 weeks was as healthy as a baby delivered at 38 or 39 weeks (i.e. full term). When we were unable to find the evidence we needed to answer this question, we decided to conduct our own study since we deliver about 225,000 babies each year. We called it My 39 Weeks ™. My 39 Weeks™ looked at 18,000 births at 27 HCA hospitals and revealed that babies who are allowed to develop until 39 weeks spent less time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and weren’t as prone to respiratory illness due to lung immaturity.

The other checklist item I want to highlight is Bar-Coded Medication Administration (BCMA).  Because pioneers like the VA and HCA demonstrated that technology that matches the patients arm-band bar-code to the bar-code on medications can reduce medication errors, new government guidelines (specifically, Stage II of the Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records program) are seeking to assure that all hospitals implement this technology.  Still, only one-third of hospitals now have BCMA and can promise the patient the “Five Rights”. . . The right medication delivered in the right dose to the right patient by the right route at the right time.

The practices described by all of the leading health institutions that participated in this checklist share two beliefs:  First, every patient deserves the best care and, second, that the best quality produces best value, and that that is part of the solution to America’s health care challenges.

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