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Joint Commission: Hospitals make strides in patient safety

The performance of accredited hospitals on quality measures for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care continues to improve, but gaps in overall performance remain, according to the Joint Commission’s second annual report on hospital quality, reports AHA News.

For example, Commission-accredited hospitals provided smoking cessation advice to 89.4% of patients admitted with pneumonia in 2006, up from 37.2% in 2002. They also demonstrated 90% or more compliance with 10 of 16 national patient safety goal requirements that address issues such as medication safety, caregiver communication and preventing patient falls.

Scores in other areas suggest need for improvement, the Commission added. For example, hospitals prescribed ACE inhibitors at discharge for patients with heart failure or heart attack just 64% and 56% of the time, respectively. The report, which examines 22 national quality measures and seven patient safety goals, also found significant variability by state and between hospitals

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