Publisher’s Letter March/April 2009

The Search to Save Lives

Reduce mortality, improve quality of care, improve patient safety, increase patient satisfaction and decrease costs … Lofty objectives when things are going well. When technology is budgeted for and embraced, providers feel they are well paid for fair expectations, charitable giving is on the rise and investment income is flourishing.

But in today’s climate of Wall Street bailouts, evaporating investments and cancelled capital initiatives, can anyone demand such grandiose objectives that our hospitals provide better, less expensive and safer care?

It’s understandable and commendable that our nation’s hospitals or IDNs have this objective, but how can any one of these organizations do it without benchmarking collaboration with other hospitals? Otherwise, how do you know how you’re doing in relation to other hospitals? How do you know if you are improving?

The lack of collaboration, and the slowness in which hospitals adopt changes would make it hard for an organization to actually craft, manage and share models that could aid fellow hospitals in improving performance. What type of organization would be best situated to do this? The American Hospital Association? The American Medical Association? The Joint Commission?


In this issue, we explore how Premier has coordinated a program called QUEST that has over 160 hospitals (tending to 2.3 million patients per year) involved in the pursuit to save more than 8,000 lives each year, reduce the cost of care and improve patient satisfaction. You can read the details of QUEST starting on page 12.

While I applaud Premier for its vision and ability to take on such a great pursuit, what fascinates me is that of all the stakeholders that could bring together the players to attempt such an important first step, it’s a GPO. Other than a GPO, how many associations or organizations can gather large amounts of hospitals and help lead them to increased performance?

It will be interesting to watch QUEST mature, and with all the measurements Premier has in place, the effectiveness of the processes and products will be apparent if it is all it promises to be.

Thanks for reading this issue of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting.

About the Author

John Pritchard
John Pritchard is the publisher of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting.
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