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St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics recently received a Quality Improvement Grant from the Office of Rural Health Policy. The Small Health Care Provider grant provides $100,000 for each of three years to improve clinical outcomes for patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Only 60 grants, nationwide, were approved. SMHC and CVHC are the only Idaho facilities to receive this federal grant.
The project will first use data from patient paper and electronic medical records to track management of the two chronic diseases then study the outcomes. Both facilities will then implement shared strategies to improve results and input outcomes in the patients’ EMR. Any gains will be documented then shared with other health care providers and used in the future to continuously maintain improvements in patient care.
“We will extract the data from patients’ records that have a clinical diagnosis of either diabetes or heart disease and use the data to make improvements in their care. The patient’s name will not be associated with the data to maintain confidentiality, but all patients will benefit from the improved methods of tracking, treatment and follow up,” said Pam McBride, SMHC/CVHC Chief Grants Officer. “The project will use physician champions at each facility to analyze the data and develop consistent evidence based treatment protocols.”
We’ve been working on quality improvement for year. (This project will provide)… the opportunity to concentrate on improving specific clinical outcomes, especially for my complicated elderly patients, said Dr. Kelly McGrath, CVHC physician.
According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Heart Disease and Stroke State Plan, Idaho ranked 39th among states for heart disease deaths and 16th for stroke deaths in 2005. Respectively, they are the number one and number four killers in the state. Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death among Idaho residents in 2002. Sixteen percent of Idahoans 65 or over have diabetes and its prevalence among Idaho adults has increased 41% since 1994, according to the Idaho Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.
The new grant will complement the patient centered medical home grant the hospitals received in 2009. Under that grant project participants learned about and initiated the Chronic Care Model of quality improvement developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Associates in Process Improvement.
“We are constantly working towards improving the quality of patient care we provide. Our involvement with the patient centered medical home initiative and other grants provides technical expertise and exposes us to more efficient, effective ways of providing care,” said McBride. “But because we continue to be smaller, rural facilities we never lose the personal touch and caring while supplementing that with greater technical expertise.”