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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Translating Quality Measures — What Do They Really Mean?

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

As a consumer, how do you measure quality? The question seems simple enough. But measuring quality can be tricky – especially when it comes to health care.

Consumers have more information than ever at their fingertips. A quick Internet search will return several Web sites for researching hospital quality. However, some of the measures can be misleading.

One good example is the public reporting of hospital infection rates. Texas Health Resources applauds the Legislature’s new requirement for hospitals to publicly report rates of certain types of infections. But until we develop uniform definitions and standards for measuring, it will be impossible to make apples-to-apples comparisons.

The good news is, we are on the right track. We have made significant strides in the science of quality measurement and use of health information systems to track quality.

Health care providers must build on our progress by continuing to work with employers, managed care companies and the government to develop a uniform set of quality and patient safety measures. This will equip consumers with reliable, comparative data to make informed decisions about health care, and it will give providers of care the information they need to continually improve.

At Texas Health Resources, quality of care and patient safety are among our top priorities. We will continue to strive to make our hospitals synonymous with quality in the minds of those we serve.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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