It takes a village: 29 Hospital Engagement Network coordinators are located across Carolinas HealthCare System and gather in person at least once a year to discuss best practices, ways to reduce patient harm and readmissions in hospitals across the System. Recently, HEN teams met at Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville, pictured here.

For the third consecutive year, Carolinas HealthCare System is participating in the national Partnership for Patients' Hospital Engagement Network (HEN). Selected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the System is one of five health systems and 26 healthcare organizations in the country invited to join.

Since the program's inception in 2011, the organization has enhanced the way it delivers safe, value-based care in 10 focus areas, with an emphasis on reducing preventable patient harm by 40 percent and 30-day hospital readmissions by 20 percent by end of 2014.

In several of these key areas, the System has already surpassed the 40 percent goal and is exceeding national benchmarks.

For early elective deliveries, our System's HEN performance from January 2012 to November 2013 reflects a 72 percent reduction relative to its 2011 baseline, and its current performance exceeds the CMS national benchmark. For surgical site infections, our performance during the same time period saw a 61 percent reduction relative to a 2010 baseline.

"Our 29 participating hospitals have gone above and beyond reaching quality and safety goals, and their successes are helping other hospitals and health systems in the national HEN to adopt best practice solutions," said Roger Ray, MD, MBA, FACPE, executive vice president and chief medical officer for the System. "The infrastructure Carolinas HealthCare System has developed as part of the basic HEN program is helping in the pursuit of these critical goals."

In 2014, the national HEN expanded its focus to include four additional areas: OB hemorrhage, preeclampsia treatment, opioid safety and efforts to reduce all surgical site infections. Carolinas HealthCare System's HEN added one more priority focus area – efforts to reduce C-section rates – for a total of 14 areas it is now tracking.

The System uses an analytics-driven structure to collect, track and monitor hospital quality data and operational systems to support the design, implementation and evaluation of ongoing improvement projects in its hospitals. It has created new initiatives and positions in critical areas, such as medication safety and infection prevention, and has made progress toward a single unified enterprise by collaborating, sharing best practices and standardizing processes, tools and data collection.

Due to its outstanding clinical performance to date, Carolinas HealthCare System was one of only six healthcare organizations and one of only two health systems in the national HEN to receive the Leading Edge Advanced Practice Topics (LEAPT) award. It allows the System to enhance and improve patient safety and outcomes in five additional areas. Nine of the System's 42 hospitals are participating in at least one LEAPT advanced harm area.

Cleveland Regional Presents at National Quality Conference

When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asked the national Partnership for Patients’ Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) to spotlight hospitals achieving extraordinary results, Cleveland Regional Medical Center in Shelby responded.

Cindy Proctor, RN, BSN, MBA, director of quality management, shared nationally how Carolinas HealthCare System Cleveland is achieving significant results in improving patient safety and quality. She told the hospital’s story at the annual Quality Net Conference with its theme, A More Perfect Union: Better Health. Better Health Care. Lower Costs. Carolinas HealthCare System Cleveland was invited to present as part of the Carolinas HealthCare System HEN.

Proctor’s presentation showed how Carolinas HealthCare System Cleveland is improving Hospital Acquired Condition (HAC) rates based on a scale showing “progress,” being “at target” or achieving “ideal” improvement status. Of the 10 HAC rates being targeted for improvement, the hospital has achieved ideal status on five of them, is at target on one and is making progress on the remaining four.

This success is attributed to Carolinas HealthCare System Cleveland's interdisciplinary team, pilot projects, leadership/physician engagement and scope of projects throughout the continuum of care. “We are committed to taking full advantage of each opportunity to reduce a patient’s risk for harm,” Proctor said.

The timing of the presentation on improving Hospital Acquired Condition rates was no accident. Members of the System’s HEN have powerful stories of successes in reducing the risks of patient harm, and these stories will be used to energize a new national Patient and Family Engagement Campaign.