Rapid Core Measure Improvement Through a “Business Case for Quality”



Incentives to improve performance are emerging as revenue or financial penalties are linked to the measured quality of service provided. The HCA “Getting to Green” program was designed to rapidly increase core measure performance scores. Program components included (1) the “business case for quality”—increased awareness of how quality drives financial performance; (2) continuous communication of clinical and financial performance data; and (3) evidence-based clinical protocols, incentives, and tools for process improvement. Improvement was measured by comparing systemwide rates of adherence to national quality measures for heart failure (HF), acute myocardial infarction (AMI), pneumonia (PN), and surgical care (SCIP) to rates from all facilities reporting to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As of the second quarter of 2011, 70% of HCA total measure set composite scores were at or above the 90th percentile of CMS scores. A test of differences in regression coefficients between the CMS national average and the HCA average revealed significant differences for AMI (p = .001), HF (p = .012), PN (p < .001), and SCIP (p = .015). This program demonstrated that presentation of the financial implications of quality, transparency in performance data, and clearly defined goals could cultivate the desire to use improvement tools and resources to raise performance.