Healthcare quality and patient safety is a hot topic in hospitals across the country, as well as here at The Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM). It seems like every day we hear of new regulatory requirements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), The Joint Commission, and state health departments, or requirements from other health care organizations, including insurance companies. It’s hard to keep up with it all.
To help hospitals with their quality initiatives, SHM recently beefed up its Quality Initiatives Department by adding three new staff members, including myself. I’d like to introduce you to our newest members. My name is Jane Kelly-Cummings, and I joined SHM in July as the senior director of Quality Initiatives. I’m responsible for the strategic planning, development and implementation of quality initiatives for the society and the staff liaison for the Hospital Quality and Patient Safety Committee. I’ve been a registered nurse (RN) for more than 20 years and have been working in the quality world for more than a decade.
Linda Boclair joined SHM in June as director of Quality Initiatives. She is responsible for proposal/grant writing, managing select quality initiative projects, and department operations. She has a background in medical technology and industrial relations/organizational behavior. Linda currently is working on a medication reconciliation project, an advisory panel on pharmacoeconomics, and she is working on the new co-management taskforce.
Lauren Valentino also joined SHM in June as the departments project coordinator. She is responsible for supporting the Quality Initiatives department through project planning and implementation. Lauren also is a support resource for the society, providing documentation and coordination to the committees, task forces, and various special interest groups.
The new staffers join Joy M. Wittnebert-Barnosky, senior project manager; Tina Budnitz, senior advisor for Quality Initiatives; and Kathleen Kerr, project manager of QI Mentored Implementation in rounding out SHM’s new Quality Initiatives Department.
In order to best meet the quality initiatives needs of our members, we have been developing SHM’s quality initiatives strategic plan. We had the chance to share the plan with SHM board members at the bi-annual board meeting in October. The board received the strategic plan well, and the group is looking forward to an update at the January board meeting. SHM’s strategic quality initiative planning began in October 2007, when a group of SHM leaders met to begin the process of developing a 10-year strategic plan for quality initiatives. The output of this meeting led to six areas of focus, which we refer to as core strategies:
- Develop education programs and technical support tools in quality improvement or patient safety;
- Advance a national quality agenda for hospitals and hospitalists;
- Facilitate cultural change and develop initiatives to promote hospital medicine’s role in quality initiatives within the C-suite at our nation’s hospitals;
- Evaluate effectiveness of current offerings in quality improvement or patient safety;
- Promote adoption of health information technologies to advance patient safety and quality improvement; and
- Promote and support the new science of QI (i.e., develop a research agenda).
Linking these focus areas with SHM’s Core Competencies in Hospital Medicine and current national industry quality initiatives, such as The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals and Core Measures, is the basic foundation for SHM’s strategic quality plan. This plan will allow SHM to become more proactive in our approach to quality initiatives for the next one, three, five, and 10 years. It will help us focus on the areas identified as needs for hospitalists and hospital medicine.