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VHA Inc. Program Improving Clinical Outcomes; More Than 525 Health Care Organization Engagements Nationwide.

IRVING, Texas, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ --

VHA Inc., a nationwide alliance of more than 2,000 community-owned health care organizations, is helping its members achieve rapid improvements in clinical performance through its Clinical Advantage program. One of the foundations of the program is the Health Care Financing Administration's Sixth Scope of Work. HCFA today released the national baseline results on 24 measures of quality of care for the following six clinical conditions: acute myocardial infarction, breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, pneumonia and stroke.

VHA's Clinical Advantage program quickly and dramatically improves patient outcomes through the use of evidence-based knowledge, innovative rapid- improvement methodologies and a system for standardized measurement. Structured around specific diseases or processes, the program is designed to accelerate learning, produce sustainable results and break down barriers to change in clinical improvement.

"Hospitals and physicians are convinced that evidence-based clinical improvement efforts will result in better outcomes, increased safety and higher patient and employee satisfaction," said Nancy Wilson, M.D., vice president of Clinical Affairs for VHA, Inc. and medical director of the Clinical Advantage program. "We created the Clinical Advantage program to provide our member hospitals with the structure, support and collaboration opportunities needed to enable them improve patient outcomes. We believe high quality results in decreased costs, both by getting it right the first time, and by avoiding unproven or unhelpful diagnostic tests and treatments."

The year-old program already has more than 525 health care organization engagements nationwide involving thousands of clinicians. Current initiatives address improvements in the treatment of stroke, heart attacks, medication error reduction, breast cancer, congestive heart failure and patient safety. New initiatives will begin soon for pain management and spreading and sustaining improvements.

Clinical Advantage uses both regional workshops and national symposiums to enhance collaborative education, and provides access to Clinical Knowledge Management, an exclusive Web-based interactive community connecting all participants.

VHA recognizes the importance of HCFA's Sixth Scope of Work to its member hospitals. To help educate members, VHA conducted a national satellite broadcast on HCFA's Sixth Scope of Work and evidence-based measures last fall that reached more than 3,000 clinicians. VHA also co-convened the patient safety conference "Building Systems That Do No Harm: Advancing Patient Safety through Partnership and Shared Knowledge" June 28-30 with partners including the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Medical Group Management Association, the National Business Coalition on Health, the American Organization of Nurse Executives and many other prominent organizations. VHA's patient safety initiative is designed to avoid underuse, misuse, and overuse of medications and/or treatments.

Clinical Advantage Program Results

More than 75 hospitals across the nation have participated in VHA collaboratives to improve stroke care. Pre- and post-measurement results showed a nearly 50 percent reduction in time from first contact to administration and interpretation of CT scan, a 50 percent increase in the number of eligible patients receiving tPA, an increase in aspirin administration within 48 hours and a decrease in time from symptom onset to first hospital contact. VHA partnered with the National Stroke Association and American Heart Association to provide educational materials to participants.

Concord Hospital in New Hampshire achieved dramatic improvements in acute myocardial infarction patient care after participating in the Clinical Advantage Program. After participating in an Advanced Learning Workshop, Concord established a multi-disciplinary AMI process improvement team. They conducted a mock walk-through of an AMI patient and found many opportunities to save time, eliminate steps to reperfusion and save lives. Door-to-PTCA time was cut by 26 minutes, and door-to-drug time was reduced by 12 minutes. The greatest time savings occurred through collaboration with the EMS team. By integrating EMS into the intervention process, the team was able to accelerate the speed of treatment and address critical steps earlier in the process.

About VHA

VHA Inc. is a nationwide network of more than 2,000 leading community- owned health care organizations and their affiliated physicians. The VHA alliance comprises 27 percent of the nation's community hospitals, including many of the nation's largest and most respected institutions. VHA offers programs and services to improve financial and clinical performance, and as a cooperative distributes income annually to members based on their participation. For more information on VHA, go to

Contact: Kelli Amick

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 3, 2000
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