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Quality, safety at crux of healthcare delivery for UHC’s Irene Thompson

By | July 1st, 2013 | Blog | Add A Comment


Irene Thompson: “UHC is all about performance improvement for the academic medical center.”


One in a series of profiles of Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare (sponsored by Furst Group)


The University HealthSystem Consortium has a lot of ground to cover as a leading representative of academic medical centers, but it’s chosen to delve deep into matters of quality and safety under the direction of President and CEO Irene Thompson, who has been chosen as one of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare.


“If you’re looking to improve a hospital,” she says, “needless to say, you need to get into the way healthcare is delivered.”


UHC’s Patient Safety Net, for example, is a real-time, Web-based reporting system that has long been a part of its offerings to its members. In 2012, however, UHC entered into a collaboration with Datix, a U.K.-based developer of patient safety technology solutions, to create “a broader suite of patient safety tools,” Thompson says.


West Virginia University Healthcare was the first member to begin using the new software, and Johns Hopkins followed suit. UHC is ready to roll out the product on a wider level to members of its alliance, and demand is great, Thompson says.


“The members who have been on our older platform have been very eager to transition onto this new one,” she adds. “They’re very excited.”


In fact, UHC’s Performance Improvement patient safety organization was among the first PSOs recognized by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).


“This is a natural outgrowth of what UHC is all about, which is performance improvement for the academic medical center,” Thompson says.


UHC also was named as a Hospital Engagement Network in an initiative by the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. As part of HHS’ Partnership for Patients program, UHC has been working since late 2011 to increase safety and quality by taking aim at two benchmarks:


**To reduce hospital acquired infections by 40 percent by the end of 2013, and


**To reduce preventable hospital readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013.


“It’s going extremely well,” Thompson says of the work. “We’re seeing great results in terms of

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