2019 Summer Newsletter

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From the President’s Desk

Beth Schooley

I hope each of you are having a fun and safe summer! The year is flying by and the AAHQ board is continuing to plan for upcoming events for the remainder of this year.

We had a fabulous turnout for the April Educational Conference and we took away so many great ideas (and a few extra pounds from the delicious food and snacks) and tools to use in our daily work as quality professionals. I want to thank each of the AAHQ board members for presenting and helping with this event. I am privileged to work with such a knowledgeable, dedicated, enthusiastic and FUN group of people!

Speaking of this great group of people, we had to say goodbye to Steve Chasteen this spring, as he needed to leave the board to focus on other professional and personal commitments. Thank you, Steve for the time spent on this board and the knowledge and expertise you brought with you. You will be missed! Sharon Aureli, who is already serving on the board as a member at large and Membership Team member, has graciously agreed to take over the External Relations Team. I am positive she will do an exceptional job in this role. Thank you, Sharon for being willing to serve on the board wherever you are needed!

Finally, please be thinking of nominations for the President-Elect position for 2020. It is such a positive and rewarding experience to be a part of this board and I encourage you to look into getting involved whether as an officer or team member.  There will be more information coming about the nominations. I hope to see you all at the AAHQ Fall Conference on October 18th!


Beth Schooley, RN, BBA, CPHQ, CPPS, CHC


Call for Nominations

Pam Blake

It is time to develop a list of nominees for the election of an officer of the AAHQ Board of Directors.  Nominations are sought for the office of the 2020 President-Elect.

The office of President-Elect is a three-year commitment as this position will transition into the President and Past President positions for 2021 and 2022, respectively. The duties of the President–Elect are described below.  

Please submit all nominations to Cindy Harris at CHarris@arkhospitals.org or Pam Blake at blakep@jrmc.org by Friday, August 30, 2019.

Duties of the Offices throughout the Three Year Commitment:

  • President-Elect – In the absence of the President, the President Elect shall perform the duties of the President. The President Elect shall perform all duties assigned by the President, and will become familiar with and prepare for the duties of the office. In the event the President cannot fulfill his/her tenure of office, the President Elect shall serve out the unexpired term, and then begin his/her own term of office. This individual will serve in this position in 2020.
  • President -The President shall preside at all meetings of the Association and the Board of Directors. The president shall appoint any special committees and team leaders. The president shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and Action Teams and shall attend all usual duties pertaining to the office.  This office will be served throughout 2021.
  • Past President – In the absence of the President and President Elect, the Past President shall perform the duties of the President. The Past President shall perform all duties assigned by the President.  This office will be served throughout 2022.

Qualifications for Nominees for President-Elect:

  • Member in good standing in the organization for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Currently employed by an AHA affiliated organization.
  • Certified Professional Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)
  • Nominee must submit a picture and pertinent biographical sketch of their professional activities and services to the Association, which shall be included with the ballot.

Professional Development Round-Up

Justin Villines

The Value of Health Information Exchange and Interoperability for Healthcare Providers

The push for nationwide interoperability and improved health data exchange have increased HIE use, which can create advantages for providers.

Health information exchange (HIE) will be critical for improving interoperability, especially as technology continues to evolve and the options for transferring and receiving information increase. Along with having the necessary tools for HIE use, healthcare organizations must ensure that healthcare providers at all levels are properly trained so potential challenges with data exchange can be overcome.

To better track and securely share patients’ complete medical histories, more and more health care providers are participating in health information exchange (HIE). HIE helps facilitate coordinated patient care, reduce duplicative treatments and avoid costly mistakes. This practice is growing among health providers because the need for HIE is clear and the HIE benefits are significant. A few examples of HIE benefits include:

  • Improve patient safety by reducing medication and medical errors;
  • Increase efficiency by eliminating unnecessary paperwork and handling;
  • Provide caregivers with clinical decision support tools for more effective care and treatment;
  • Eliminate redundant or unnecessary testing;
  • Improve public health reporting and monitoring;
  • Engage healthcare consumers regarding their own personal health information;
  • Improve healthcare quality and outcomes; and
  • Reduce health related costs.

Expanded HIE use can provide numerous benefits to both patients and providers, helping healthcare work toward its goal of interoperability in the transition to value-based care. Improving rural health outreach, developing effective responses to public health crises, and overcoming patient matching problems are just a few specific ways HIE use can help with patient care. Physicians are becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the amount of data becoming available through data sharing though, which can lead to provider burden and in effect, less effective patient care.

Having all healthcare stakeholders involved is key to reducing administrative burden, improving interoperability, and strengthening health data exchange options. This is necessary in creating a healthcare system that focuses on value-based care and ensuring that patients are put first. Additionally, focusing on healthcare data security needs can reassure patients that their data will remain protected, even in the health data exchange process.


The Arkansas Association for Healthcare Quality (AAHQ) Fall Conference is an educational event held at the Gilbreath Conference Center, Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock on October 18, 2019, kicking off National Healthcare Quality Week. This year’s theme is “Outcomes of Data” What is the ROI? This provides opportunities to network with healthcare providers and further build up the organization’s brand name as a thought leader in Arkansas.

With the concept theme of “Outcomes of Data” What is the ROI? AAHQ will host Statewide Leaders in Healthcare to discuss how they use Outcomes of Data and convey the ROI to senior leadership in their respective healthcare organizations.  Conference speakers include:

  • Nationally renowned keynote speaker Ken Rohde, President of KRRohde LLC
  • Rachel Wallis, MPH, CEO of Healthstar Physicians of Hot Springs
  • Christy Watley, CPA, MBA, Vice President & Chief Quality Officer of CHI St. Vincent
  • Terri Church, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CPHQ, CPPS, Director of Quality & Clinical Informatics at Washington Regional Medical Center
  • Nicole May BSN, RN, Interim Executive Director of Empower Healthcare Solutions (BH PASSE)
  • David A. Nelsen, Jr, MD, MS, Associate Professor-Family Medicine, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Utilization & Informatics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Membership Update

Pam Cochran

Feedback is often defined as the information collected regarding performance or understanding.  Soon, all current members will receive a Survey Monkey link to an AAHQ questionnaire regarding services provided and asking for ways we can better serve.  When you receive the email, please take a moment and respond.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Membership Spotlight

Submitted by Pam Cochran

Dustin Rhodes

One of the pleasures of serving on the AAHQ Board is getting to know quality professionals throughout the State of Arkansas.  There are also opportunities to serve with upcoming young leaders, many of whom will shape the state of healthcare quality in Arkansas.  Personally, I have had this opportunity as I have watched the professional growth of a young quality professional serving at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS).

In January 2009, Dustin begin his nursing career in the Emergency Department at CAVHS.  He joined the department as a new graduate registered nurse.  Between 2009 and early 2015, Dustin served as a psychiatric nurse and a Suicide Prevention Coordinator.  In February 2015, Dustin joined the CAVHS Mental Health Service Quality Office, serving as a leader in accreditation, continuous quality improvement, and environmental safety.  One of his many responsibilities has been to guide the Strategic Analytic for Improvement and Learning (SAIL) work to improve mental health outcomes for Veterans. 

Dustin obtained his CPHQ certification in 2016.  In 2017, he graduated from Walden University with a Masters of Science in Nursing, Leadership and Management.  He is a two-time recipient of the Arkansas Center for Nursing’s 40 Nurse Leaders under 40 and in 2016 was honored as the Mental Health Registered Nurse of the Year at CAVHS.  He serves as a valued resource for Mental Health Service.

Finance Action Team Report

Lynnette Jack

Due to AAHQ’s strong financials, six scholarships were awarded to members for the 2019 Governor’s Quality Award Healthcare Seminar held on June 18, 2019.  Upcoming events with financial impact on the organization include the AAHQ Annual Conference scheduled for October 18 and the National Association for Healthcare Quality’s conference NAHQ Next being held in Phoenix from September 16-18, 2019.  Please watch your inbox for exciting scholarship opportunities.  Later in 2019, the CPHQ Review Course will be held in Little Rock on December 5-6, 2019.  Registration is now open for the CPHQ Review Course

Reimbursement for the CPHQ examination may be considered for members applying for this assistance, if funds are available.  If you are interested, you may contact any board member who will be able to respond to any questions you may have about this amazing benefit.

The financial standing of the organization remains strong.  Our financial balance as of June 30, 2019, was $32,953.67.  Thank you for all the member support that makes the work of AAHQ possible!

Quality Submission Articles

Registry Impact in and Beyond Quality

Submitted by Milton Silva-Craig, CEO, Q-Centrix

Milton Silva-Craig

The ongoing transformational shift to value-based payment in healthcare is fueling the rise of clinical data registry participation. The average U.S. healthcare facility participates in five to 10 registries and the 20 largest registries are expected to increase in participation at an average of 7 percent each year until 2021.

As CEO of an organization ­­that works with hospitals to measurably improve quality of care, I have witnessed more times than not that hospital executives and department heads are unaware of the number of registries their facilities are involved in. For some, registry participation is limited to producing evidence to back up marketing claims such as ‘our team is top-rated for heart bypass surgery.’ Since registries are widely recognized for their proficiency in assessing the effectiveness of care, their growth is welcome news – but many hospitals are missing out on their full range of benefits.

Unlocking the full power of registry participation should be a goal of every hospital. These programs provide the benchmarking information needed to assess care quality. Established programs like the IMPACT Registry and the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke program are prime examples. When managed with an eye toward improving quality and with a facility- or system-wide strategy – in other words, a strategic enterprise approach – registry participation can have a positive influence on and beyond quality.


When it comes to quality improvement, knowledge is of little value if you don’t put it to work. Because registries record information about procedures and outcomes, they become valuable tools in understanding which treatments, tests, devices, and medications will most likely help a patient. A classic example is whether to do surgery. For instance, the Vascular Quality Initiative Varicose Vein Registry collects data on which surgical and non-surgical venous procedures result in the best outcomes for certain types of patients. When the most promising approaches are apparent, fewer resources are needed to deliver the best possible care.


A significant factor driving registry participation is the shift to value-based care (VBC). Hospitals that don’t meet quality targets risk incurring penalties or are denied payment and rewards from payers. Registry participation directly satisfies certain quality reporting requirements. Less obvious, but just as important, is how registry participation fosters a more VBC-embracive culture through clinician engagement.

When used effectively, registries provide clinicians with the data needed to determine best practices. This empowers them to play a direct role in establishing new standards of care and corresponding goals. With registry participation, clinicians become champions in adopting value-based approaches that ultimately improve quality and cost of care.


Cost-savings is another potential benefit of registries that stems directly from improving quality of care. It is no secret that mistakes and readmissions drastically drive up healthcare expenses. Most sources put the cost of errors between $17 billion and $29 billion annually, while readmissions cases are among the costliest of all – to the tune of more than $50 billion a year.

Fortunately, reducing readmissions is a registry strength. For example, the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure program is associated with significantly improved outcomes, including reductions in 30-day readmissions. When programs like these are implemented with the proper collaboration, feedback, education, process improvement and technology, enhanced adherence to care guidelines has been the result.

In fact, more-efficient registry data management alone can save costs. Take this example from our hospital partner population at Q-Centrix. Last year, our team received authorization to submit data to the CathPCI Registry® on behalf of approximately 150 hospitals. More than 80 percent of these facilities participate in at least one other cardiovascular care-related registry using a Q-Centrix solution. Since these registries have many overlapping measures, a more-coordinated approach to participating in them significantly reduces redundancies in data collection and reporting – and therefore the cost of doing so for those hospitals.

When managed properly, the benefits of registry participation are a myriad. Our learnings from our hospital partners reveal not only the aforementioned benefits, but new possibilities ranging from physician recruitment to stronger leverage in payer negotiations worthy of their own examination.

This all sounds rosy but of course there are challenges. Many hospitals and health systems have multiple departments or facilities reporting to one or more quality programs – and when there is no enterprise crosstalk or common organizational goals for these programs, it sells them short as instruments of change. To unlock their full potential, clinical and quality department heads, hospital executives and medical directors must come together to challenge the status quo and recognize registries as a vital enterprise decision. An important first step in achieving this is understanding the full scope of your facilities’ registry involvement.

Milton Silva-Craig is the Chief Executive Officer of Q-Centrix. He has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare information technology industry and has held executive positions at leading industry companies, including General Electric Medical Systems.

Patient Safety Analysis of “Other” Events Reveals 3X Higher Mortality Rate, Among Key Findings

Submitted by Susan Allen, American Data Network

American Data Network Patient Safety Organization (ADNPSO) conducted a deep-dive analysis of the event type “Other.” Over a four-year period (2014-2018), this catchall category accounted for over 40% of events reported by ADNPSO members. Among the compelling revelations, the mortality rate of incidents categorized as Other was three times higher than ALL remaining event categories combined. Among the myriad of striking revelations, the death rate of incidents categorized as Other was 3 times higher than ALL remaining event categories combined.

Other tends to serve as a blanket category for events that do not fit neatly into the standardized AHRQ event types. Because there is no nationally-defined or uniform collection for Other events, the data captured is largely narrative. This makes it more difficult to analyze and may result in missed opportunities to mitigate risk and harm.

In 2014, ADN identified reporting trends and created 33 subcategories in ADN’s Patient Safety Event Reporting Application as a means for further segmentation. These subcategories allow providers to better isolate and understand the types of events that do not fit neatly within the eight Common Formats defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

As the Other event type accounts for 44% of overall events and has a 3X higher mortality rate, it’s vital to understand the data and to aggregate similar events for learning purposes. ADN’s application also captures data about preventability. Strikingly, the study revealed that 62% of the Other events almost certainly or likely could have been prevented.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this deep dive is the incredible potential hiding in the event type Other. Organizations may be missing analytic opportunities for spotting key trends in patient safety data if using paper processes, EHR add-on modules or in-house built databases to collect events. Not to mention, a team is likely spending significant time to manually enter events and build meaningful reports; time that could be reallocated to analysis and improvement efforts. Click here to read the full study and key findings.

Board Members

Beth Schooley
870-845-4178 fax
Past-President Pam Cochran 501-257-3087 501-257-3110 fax autocontrols@att.net
Clay Leigh
501-548-4693 clayleigh.pi@gmail.com
Dalana Pittman
501-225-5539 fax
Professional Development
Justin Villines
501-978-3940 fax
Pam Blake
External Relations
Sharon Aureli
Lynnette Jack
501-407-9288 fax
Clay Leigh
501-548-4693 clayleigh.pi@gmail.com
Member-at-large Sharon Aureli
Amanda Wyatt Hutto


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