Top 4 Quality Areas to Improve Health Outcomes in 2024

As 2024 approaches, we will continue working to improve healthcare quality and patient safety. To better understand the biggest challenges and opportunities facing healthcare systems, we surveyed a small group of symplr customers about their quality priorities for 2024. The results revealed four major themes:  

1. Analytics and reporting 

Quality improvement requires insights on performance and safety to inform your hospital or health system’s ongoing plan. Data and reporting on changes in quality and the accessibility of this information remains a priority. The survey highlighted the following areas with room for improvement: 

  • Risk adjustment methodologies relative to mortality, readmission, and the use of more types of data than just coding  
  • Access to actionable data for leadership   
  • Focus on trends against benchmarks to trigger quality improvement

2. Simplified workflows 

Increasing your number of full-time employees is not likely happening anytime soon, so the pressure to streamline work will be a continuing priority heading into 2024. Survey respondents identified broad themes that most quality departments will identify with, and specific initiatives that may only apply to a subset of health systems. Priorities to streamline workflows include: 

  • Streamline risk/quality workflows 
  • Improve quality information in OPPE/FPPE processes 
  • Resolving OPPE measurement issues for physician assistants and nurse practitioners where data is not readily available in the EHR 
  • OPPE for ambulatory providers 
  • Streamline chart reviews  
  • Reduce abstraction time for “Get with the Guidelines”

3. Patient outcome improvement 

Health systems are striving to improve the patient experience. Two broad categories of quality improvement include readmission reduction and healthcare-associated infections (HAI) reduction. Sources of HAI that were mentioned include CLABSI, CAUTI, C. diff, MRSA, colon SSI, and hysterectomy SSI. Beyond these broad categories, the survey identified several specific outcomes needing improvement: 

  • Decreasing falls with injury 
  • Decreasing reportable hospital acquired pressure injuries 
  • Decreasing catheter associated urinary tract infections 
  • Decreasing central line blood stream infections 
  • Improving hand hygiene compliance 
  • Improving breast cancer screening rates among black, indigenous, and people of color 
  • Improving colon cancer screening rates among black, indigenous, and people of color 
  • Improving annual wellness visit completion rates 

In addition to these specific outcomes, health systems seek to improve their public ratings, including the CMS Star Rating and Leapfrog Safety Grade

4. Achieving health equity 

To ensure all Americans have access to quality care, health systems are moving to measure and report on outcomes across communities and patient populations. 2024 quality priorities for health equity and social drivers of health (SDOH) aim to identify, measure, and eliminate disparities in healthcare to improve patient outcomes for relevant patient groups. Priorities include: 

  • Improve ability to segment the patient population into demographic buckets to identify and address disparities between groups 
  • SDOH reporting 
  • Incorporate health equity/disparity identification in key measures 

If your organization shares any of these priorities, symplr can help support your quality improvement goals with analytics and benchmarking, customized quality reporting, and simplified workflows 

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