2019 Fall Newsletter

By aahq • In NewsNo Comments

From the President’s Desk

Beth Schooley

Happy National Healthcare Quality Week!

As you are probably already aware, October 20th-26th is National Healthcare Quality Week 2019, brought to you by NAHQ. It is a dedicated week to celebrate the contributions you all have made to improve healthcare quality and give us an opportunity to bring greater awareness to the profession of healthcare quality.  I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate each of our members for the quality work they do for their own organizations as well as AAHQ and other organizations across the state. Thank you for all you do! We would love to hear about the ways you all celebrated this week and be able to share in the next newsletter!

The AAHQ Fall Conference was on October 18th. I want to thank the AAHQ Board of Directors for all of the hard work and planning that went into this conference. Thanks, team! I hope many of you were able to participate in the conference and bring back useful information for your own professional development as well as for your organizations. As always, we want to provide the resources, training, and networking that would be most useful to our members in accordance with our mission statement, “Engaging healthcare quality professionals to improve care and patient safety in Arkansas.”

Thank you for your membership and support of AAHQ!


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


Professional Development Round-Up

Justin Villines

After a hugely successful fall conference, this week is Healthcare Quality Week.  AAHQ recognizes all healthcare quality professionals serve important roles in improving efficiencies and maximizing an organization’s output, all while maintaining a culture that establishes safe, quality care. While their work is critical, healthcare quality professionals sometimes go unnoticed because they often work behind the scenes — and that’s why this week is so important.

Healthcare quality professionals are invaluable to the success of any organization in healthcare, whether it is at a large and small hospital or provider practice, and they are continually looking for the next improvement opportunity. In the fast-moving and complex healthcare environment that we work in, it’s essential to have trained and qualified professionals, specifically focused on systems and processes and methods of measuring, analyzing, and improving them to achieve best outcomes.  Thanks to all the quality professionals in Arkansas and all our partners for your efforts to continually make care better for our communities and loved ones. We celebrate you!!!

CPHQ Review Course–December 5 & 6, 2019

Register for the CPHQ Course Today

This interactive two-day course is designed to support those planning to take the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) Certification Examination. Based on the current CPHQ Content Outline, this course engages participants in a review of the examination material and offers valuable tips on how to best prepare for test day. Participants should begin this course with functional knowledge in areas identified on the CPHQ Content Online. Completion of this course does not guarantee a passing score on the examination. Earn 15 CPHQ Continuing Education credits upon completion and evaluation of the course. CPHQ CE is available only to current CPHQs.

The course begins at 8:00 AM and concludes at 4:30 PM on both days. The course fee includes continental breakfast and lunch on both days and electronic access to handout materials for one year. This course is being held in collaboration with Arkansas Association for Healthcare Quality.

Registration Fee: Registration Fee: $499

Meeting Location: Arkansas Hospital Association, 419 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205 United States

Refund requests must be received in writing by contacting our customer service team at info@nahq.org. Refunds are provided as follows, dependent upon the date that the cancellation notice is received.

Protocol Team Report

Pam Blake, AAHQ 2020 President-Elect

AAHQ is proud to announce that Pam Blake has been elected as the 2020 AAHQ President-Elect. She will serve as AAHQ President in 2021. Ms. Blake, MHA, BSN, RN, CPHQ is the Director of Case Management at Jefferson Regional in Pine Bluff, AR.  She graduated from Jefferson School of Nursing in 1987.  Pam holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Nebraska Wesleyan and a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Bellevue University.  Pam has a total of 32 years of nursing experience in Case Management, Quality Management, Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH), and Hospice.  She qualified to hold the Certified Professional of Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) certification in 2013.  Pam is a member of Arkansas Association for Healthcare Quality (AAHQ) and the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ).  Pam joined the AAHQ Board of Directors in 2016 and currently leads the Protocol Team.

Membership Spotlight

Sharon Aureli
Dr. Tonya Robertson

I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Tonya Robertson for many years, first when she served as clinical pharmacy manager for Baptist Health Medical Center – Little Rock and now in population health management at BHPP.  Dr. Tonya Robertson is a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist with Baptist Health Physician Partners.  BHPP is a clinically integrated network of over 1,000 providers and 240 clinics throughout central AR.  BHPP’s mission is to create value through innovation to improve the lives of patients through clinical quality and efficiency initiatives.

Tonya helps BHPP achieve its mission by acting as a dedicated clinical pharmacy resource for providers, their clinic staff and patients. She works to ensure safe and optimal patient outcomes by promoting clinically rational and cost effective drug therapy. She works to keep providers in the network informed on latest treatment guidelines and opportunities to better align.   Current quality efforts include a focus on diabetes prevention, medication optimization to improve chronic conditions, and efforts to improve opioid stewardship.  She has provided extensive education throughout the state to address over prescribing and has been recognized as a patient safety champion.

Dr. Robertson serves on the Health Advantage Board of Directors and as a voting member of the AR Medicaid drug review committee, again helping shape the quality and safety of medical care in our state.

2019 AAHQ Education Conference Pictures

Ken Rohde, Keynote Speaker, presents information to the participants.
2019 AAHQ Member of the Year–Justin Villines
2019 AAHQ President Pam Blake is awarded the golden gavel plaque by Lynnette Jack.
Participants listen as President Beth Schooley welcomes all to the 2019 AAHQ Educational Conference.
2019 AAHQ Education Conference Participants

Finance Action Team Report

Lynnette Jack

AAHQ was well represented at the National Association for Healthcare Quality’s conference NAHQ Next held in Phoenix from September 16-18, 2019.  Funding support was provided for on-site attendance for three board members and three virtual attendance scholarships were provided for members.  The financial impact of the Annual Conference will be known later in November.  The upcoming CPHQ Review Course will be held in Little Rock on December 5-6, 2019 under partnership with NAHQ.  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 September  30, 2019, was $27,271.17.  Thank you for all the member support that makes the work of AAHQ possible!

Quality Article

9-Month Specimen Error Study of 15 Hospitals Results in Substantial Improvements

By American Data Network

American Data Network Patient Safety Organization (ADNPSO) recently completed a nine-month specimen event study across 15 hospitals. The study, which was free to members of ADNPSO, sought to help healthcare professionals, both inside and outside the laboratory, better understand why specimen events happen and how they can collaborate to decrease errors across the testing process. Due to the compelling results, ADNPSO was invited to present the findings of the study at the 2019 National Association for Healthcare Quality Conference.

As part of its federal responsibilities for impacting the culture of patient safety, ADNPSO conducts retrospective analytics on patient safety event data collected from American Data Network’s Event Reporting application to unveil topics and trends that inform collaborative strategic improvement initiatives.

As the result of a 4-year study of the patient event category “Other”, Specimen events continuously ranked as the number one defined subcategory. Healthcare literature also validated ADNPSO’s internal findings, indicating a wide-spread problem that is both high volume and high risk. Further findings defined rationales for this study and included:

  • Post-Analytical errors most often result in major patient harm.
  • Financial waste occurs as a result of redraws & recollection procedures.
  • The majority of specimen errors are preventable! In fact, ADNPSO found that 73.7% of specimen errors almost certainly could have been prevented or likely could have been prevented.

Laboratory testing provides essential information used by providers in medical decision making with an estimated 60–70% of these decisions based on laboratory test results1. Patient safety events involving specimens can be precursors to serious mistakes, including diagnostic errors and inappropriate treatments. Needless to say, specimen events can have a dramatic impact on patient care and satisfaction, as well as a hospital’s quality, safety, and financial outlook.

Over the nine-month study of the 15 hospitals, a variety of positive outcomes emerged:

  • Increased reporting of specimen events by 147% over the previous 9-month period, expanding investigational causation information that’s invaluable to process redesign efforts
  • Multi-organizational development of a standardized Specimen Data Collection Form to capture cause in all stages (Ordering, Labeling, Collection, Transportation/Storage, Testing & Resulting, Result Communication)
  • A free toolkit for operationalizing a Specimen Focused Study
  • Data capture of 1,455 Blood Redraws and a calculated potential avoidable cost range of $420,000 – $1,040,000 (Note: Waste calculations are organizationally specific to internal costs incurred and quantitative error occurrences.)

Many of the organizations also experienced multiple positive impacts on their culture. Leadership began to show more support and interest in the ROI while members of the quality, lab, and frontline staff experienced increased collaboration. Additionally, the process/cause mapping of specimen errors resulted in a transition for many facilities to systems thinking and prevention.

One facility discovered that due to lab oversight hours of 5 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday, alert values were unknown by providers over the weekend. Thus, care decisions could be made without updated values posted in the EHR. After uncovering this, key stakeholders took prompt action to change the policy to allow for immediate release.

Another participating hospital found that nursing staff lacked sufficient formal training in phlebotomy. As a result, the facility piloted a focused education program with nursing staff from specialty areas to test for efficacy and afterward expanded it to all nursing staff. The team also designed a Competency Process to validate the nursing staff’s knowledge after training. Lastly, the hospital elevated the issue further, and phlebotomy training is now included in the System’s School of Nursing curriculum.

The results of the study will be presented again in a national webinar in 2020. For more information about the webinar or other services available through the American Data Network Patient Safety Organization, contact Susan Allen at sallen@americandatanetwork.com. To learn more about the Patient Safety Event Reporting Application, click here.


Green, S. F. (2013). The cost of poor blood specimen quality and errors in preanalytical processes. Chemical Biochemistry, 46, 1175-1179. 

Gold Sponsors

Founded in 1994, American Data Network provides clinical, quality, safety and financial data applications and services to healthcare executives, allowing them to better manage costs and care quality, influence physician practice patterns and meet demands for public accountability and disclosure.

AFMC’s purpose is solid: to help health care providers deliver the best quality of care at the lowest cost and to empower patients to take control of their own health and that of their families.
AFMC is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., with an additional office in Fort Smith, Ark. We are dedicated to working with beneficiaries and health care providers in all settings to improve overall health and consumers’ experience of care, while reducing health care costs. We accomplish this through education, outreach, data analysis, information technology, medical case utilization and review, and marketing/ communications services provided by a staff of 270 employees. At the forefront of health care reform and practice transformation, AFMC is an established, trusted partner in private, state and federally led payment innovations by Medicare, Medicaid and commercial payers.

Board Members

Beth Schooley
870-845-4178 fax
Pam Cochran
501-257-3110 fax
Clay Leigh
501-548-4693 clayleigh.pi@gmail.com
Dalana Pittman
501-225-5539 fax dpittman@americandatanetwork.com
Professional Development Justin Villines
501-978-3940 fax justin.villines@hit.arkansas.gov
Pam Blake
External Relations
Sharon Aureli
501-202-6435 Sharon.aureli@baptist-health.org
Lynnette Jack
501-407-9288 fax mqrs@comcast.net
Clay Leigh
501-548-4693 clayleigh.pi@gmail.com
Sharon Aureli
501-202-6435 Sharon.aureli@baptist-health.org
Amanda Wyatt Hutto

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Members Only
    Already an AAHQ member? Log in to access all of our excellent members only tools and resources.
  • AAHQ Web Store
    Visit the AAHQ web store to download webinars, conference presentation videos and more!