Healthy Tahoe: Measuring hospital quality |

Healthy Tahoe: Measuring hospital quality

Christine O’Farrell, RN, BSN, CHPQ, CHPRM

When we go to the hospital, we typically don’t think about the processes and systems in place that ensure our quality of care. Meanwhile, behind the scenes are hundreds of people working to improve the overall patient experience, and reinforce the quality and safety of the care we receive.

Quality in healthcare means providing the care a patient needs when they need it, in a safe and effective manner. Quality healthcare is also measured by the engagement and involvement of patients, so that they take ownership in preventive care and in the treatment of any medical conditions.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Barton’s commitment to providing safe, high quality care has not wavered. Programs and systems in place that protect patients earned Barton a Five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which sets national standards of quality in healthcare. CMS shares data through its Hospital Compare website from medical facilities across the nation, so consumers can view quality measurements of different hospitals.

Barton’s performance is higher than the national average in common conditions that hospitals treat, like heart attacks or pneumonia, and the data reported shows by CMS Barton is a national leader in areas of care, for colonoscopy, Emergency Department, preventative care, and pregnancy and delivery care.

An example of Barton’s track record in managing programs and operations that ensure safety of care can be seen in data reported by CMS for sepsis care. This data shows Barton ranking above the state and national performance of care for patients who receive appropriate care for severe Sepsis and Septic Shock. For this measure, the rate of care for the top 10% of hospitals was 81%, and Barton’s quality measurements for this care are at 94%.

Every day, Barton Health team members contribute to our community’s care by leading continuous improvement initiatives. At any given time, the hospital is implementing, monitoring, and analyzing existing and new processes and outcomes, and integrating new evidence-based practices into its healthcare delivery that limit risk and keep patients safe.

Hospitals operate under strict state and federal guidelines and are highly regulated for standards in quality, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CMS, and the Joint Commission. The data from these measurements show how well hospitals perform on quality standards.

Not only do Barton team members work to improve the overall patient experience, but also the quality and safety of the care we provide. And that’s something worth celebrating. By working together to put systems in place that ensure quality of care and patient safety, we have become a leader in many of the categories that hospitals across the nation are measured by.

October 18-24, Barton is celebrating National Healthcare Quality Week and salutes each and every person in our health system who helps us provide safe, high-quality care for our community.

Christine O’Farrell, RN, BSN, CPHQ, CPHRM, is director of quality management and infection pPrevention at Barton Health. To see recent industry recognition for providing quality care, and how Barton measures up to others in the state, visit

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