Quality at AtlantiCare
Continually Improving Performance
At AtlantiCare, we continually assess our performance and look for improvement opportunities to meet our own high standards – and standards set by agencies and organizations that regulate and accredit healthcare providers. Our focus is on:
- Enhancing the quality of patient care;
- Providing a safe environment for our patients and staff; and
- Achieving a high level of satisfaction among our patients and their families, practitioners and employees.
We use a systematic approach toward improving performance – one that brings together the skills and knowledge of multidisciplinary teams that include physicians, nurses, administrators and other staff. These team members work together to identify needs and opportunities – and develop and track the progress of specific programs.
The Performance Improvement process entails:
- Planning, including establishing priorities based on the needs of our patients and the vision, mission and values of our organization.
- Designing, when a new service or facility is needed or when significant changes are required to an existing service;
- Measuring, to determine the level of our performance and the resulting outcomes;
- Assessing, including analyzing and interpreting performance data;
- Implementing improvements, using information and data gathered to guide our efforts.
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Many initiatives are currently underway at AtlantiCare, including these top-priority programs:
- Patient Safety: At AtlantiCare, patient safety is not something that we take for granted. It’s a key part of our values. We continually work to create an organizational culture of safety through teamwork and training. Our goal is to ensure that every employee knows and uses proper safety practices in every patient interaction – to consistently deliver the highest quality of care. In addition, we encourage patients to participate in the process by raising concerns and asking questions.
We place particular emphasis on medication safety, incorporating into our practice guidelines established by national safety leaders, such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
To help ensure medication safety, our hospital-based pharmacy staff is on duty 24 hours a day to consult with patient care teams on medication issues. In addition, a dedicated pharmacist at AtlantiCare specializes in antibiotics – advising physicians on their appropriate use and addressing the challenge of antibiotic-resistant infections.
- Clinical Practice Guidelines: What are the safest, most effective ways to diagnose and treat common conditions like heart attack, stroke, joint replacement, diabetes and major depression? Multidisciplinary teams of medical experts at AtlantiCare are developing clinical practice guidelines based on the latest medical evidence, protocols established by leading organizations and our experience in treating thousands of patients with these conditions. These guidelines support physicians and other clinicians in making appropriate decisions regarding patient care.
- Customer Satisfaction: We regularly survey patients to measure their perceptions and opinions of AtlantiCare’s services and programs. Feedback from our patients plays a vital role in helping us identify ways to improve care and service in each of our divisions. Ultimately, our goal is provide a service level that merits the very highest rating of every patient we treat.
- Primary Stroke Centers: Like a heart attack, a stroke requires immediate medical attention to increase the chance of survival. In addition, early treatment can help minimize damage to the brain, lessening the likelihood of severe disability. To ensure that patients experiencing strokes receive prompt, appropriate care, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center has opened Primary Stroke Centers on its Atlantic City and Mainland campuses. These centers have the facilities, staff and expertise to provide optimal stroke treatment – in keeping with comprehensive guidelines established by the American Stroke Association.
- 100,000 Lives Campaign: Sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the 100,000 Lives Campaign involves hospitals throughout the U.S. in making changes that have been proven to enhance patient care and prevent avoidable deaths. As a program participant, AtlantiCare is following the program’s protocols – and measuring and reporting results – in six areas:
- Providing rapid response to early warning signs – by deploying a special team of doctors and nurses at the first sign of patient decline.
- Giving reliable care for heart attacks – by delivering care based on the best available medical evidence and practices.
- Preventing medication errors – by checking, and rechecking, medicines as patients move from one care setting to another, such as from the hospital to a nursing home or home care.
- Preventing IV catheter infections – by following established measures that can avoid complications.
- Preventing surgical site infections – by reliably providing appropriate antibiotics and following other important steps.
- Preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia – by complying with scientifically proven procedures to avoid infection.
- Surgical Care Improvement Project: Through participation in the Surgical Care Improvement Project, AtlantiCare is working to reduce post-operative complications. The national goal is a 25 percent reduction by 2010. The project, which includes leading U.S. healthcare organizations, puts into practice patient care strategies based on the best available scientific information.
- Organ Donation: Today, the need for organs for transplantation procedures far exceeds the availability. Currently, about 90,000 people in the U.S. are on the national transplantation waiting lists. In response, AtlantiCare has joined the National Donation Breakthrough Collaborative, sponsored by the Gift of Life Donor Program. The initiative enables hospitals to share their best practices – including measures that result in more timely referrals, improved communications and better training for hospital staff – leading to increased organ donations. In 2005, AtlantiCare was among 16 regional hospitals to receive the Department of Health and Human Resource’s Medal of Honor – recognizing leadership in organ donation and commitment to organ donors and patients on the transplant waiting list.
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Centers of Excellence
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center is home to many centers of excellence and specialized services.
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AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center has met the standards of high quality established by the following nationally recognized organizations:
College of American Pathologists (http://www.cap.org/apps/cap.portal)
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Awards and Recognition
- Baldrige National Quality Award. On December 7, 2009 President Barack Obama and United States Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke named AtlantiCare a winner of the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. It is the nation’s highest presidential honor awarded to organizations for quality and organizational performance excellence. More »
- Magnet Designation. In 2004, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center became the first healthcare provider in southern New Jersey to achieve Nursing Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The designation is widely considered to be the gold standard for quality in the nursing profession. Magnet hospitals must satisfy a demanding set of criteria measuring the nursing team’s performance and strength over an extended period of time. More »
- Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The Center for Surgical Weight Loss & Wellness at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center was named an American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence (BSCOE) in January 2006 and re-certified in December, 2009. The ASBS Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery. More »
- Chest Pain Accreditation. The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care has designated both campuses of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center as Accredited Chest Pain Centers. This designation means that the care team consistently and promptly provides the most appropriate treatment for chest pain and heart attack symptoms, with outstanding clinical results. More »
- Hospital Compare Performance. AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center ranked seventh among the nation’s hospitals in providing quality care for heart attack, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Results were based on the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services’ analysis of data in Hospital Compare, the hospital-performance web site sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
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