As part of monitoring quality at RPCN, we keep track of data that helps us understand how well we coordinate patient care and provide cost efficient services. RPCN collects data that shows how well we are doing at:
- Medication Reconciliation
When we identify all of the medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) on a patient’s medication list when the patient visits us for a “transition of care visit” (e.g. sees us for the first time or visits us following a discharge from a hospital, rehabilitation, psychiatric or nursing home unit, or an emergency room visit). Medication reconciliation is important to do at these visits so we can be sure patients are on the right medications that treat new and existing problems/conditions.
Helping our patients complete their referrals and obtaining and appropriately filing the consult notes from these referrals. This provides us with assurances that our patients completed the referral and that we stay informed about the results of the referral and file them in a place where we can have quick and easy access to them.
- Giving Kids Antibiotics Only When Needed
Research has shown that antibiotics are sometimes given to kids when they are not needed. When this happens, patients can develop a resistance to antibiotics so that when they really need them, the antibiotics will no longer fight the infection. To collect data on how well we do this, we keep track of the number of pediatric patients with a sore throat who had a strep test ordered before an antibiotic was prescribed and the number of pediatric patients with upper respiratory infection who did not receive an antibiotic.
- Not Ordering Certain Tests
Holding back from ordering an x-ray or other image within 28 days of diagnosing a patient with low back pain. Most chronic low back pain problems go away within 28 days, therefore, ordering an imaging test is not usually necessary.
Below are the results of the data collected for each of these measures at Rushville and Utica Health Centers. The biggest gap lies in making sure that our patients complete their referrals, that specialists send us a consult note following the referral appointment, and that we file the note where it can be found most easily in our electronic health record. All of our Health Centers are now focusing on making some improvements in this area. The improvements include: reminding our patients how important it is to go to a referral appointment and helping our patients identify and address barriers that impede their ability to keep these appointments. Kudos to our staffs continued work in these areas.