A new study evaluating outcomes for hospitals participating in the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines program found no correlation between high performance on adhering to measures and care standards for acute myocardial infarction and for heart failure despite overlap between the sets of care processes (J Am Coll Cardio. 2011;58:637-644).
A total of 400,000 heart patients were studied, and 283 participating hospitals were stratified into thirds based on their adherence to core quality measures for each disease, with the upper third labeled superior in performance. Lead author Tracy Wang, MD, MHS, MSc, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C., and colleagues found that superior performance for only one of the two diseases led to such end-result outcomes as in-hospital mortality that were no better than for hospitals that were not high performers for either condition. But hospitals with superior performance for both conditions had lower in-hospital mortality rates.
“Perhaps quality is more than just following checklists,” Dr. Wang says. “There’s something special about these high-performing hospitals across the board, with better QI, perhaps a little more investment in infrastructure for quality.”
This result, Dr. Wang says, should give ammunition for hospitalists and other physicians to go to their hospital administrators to request more investment in quality improvement overall, not just for specific conditions.