AAHQ 2020 Newsletter

By aahq • In NewsNo Comments

From the President’s Desk

Clayton Leigh

Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope this finds you well. As we move toward the end of the calendar year—one that has looked different than most—I want to thank you for the work you’ve performed this year in providing quality-driven health care to our friends and family from throughout the state. The NAHQ Next virtual conference, which took place in September, was a positive experience as evidenced by the feedback from the scholarship-recipients awarded by AAHQ. It maybe value-added to approach the conference in a similar fashion in upcoming years—the scholarships helped provide great information to more quality professionals from throughout the state. The board has decided to host the annual business meeting virtually on December 4, 2020. With more information to come, one item of interest will be the election of new officers. Pam Blake, MHA, BSN, RN, CPHQ, Director of Case Management at Jefferson Regional Medical Center, will be the President. Other elected openings will be the President-elect and Secretary. I urge you to think about nominating a colleague or yourself for one of these roles. The board is comprised of many talented individuals that work in a collaborative fashion to support our mission. It has been a rewarding experience for me over the past few years. Thanks again for all you do and continue to be safe.

Clayton R. Leigh, MSN, RN, CPHQ

National Healthcare Quality Week in Arkansas (October 18-24 2020)

From the Desk of the Past President

Beth Schooley

I want to thank the membership and the 2019 AAHQ Board of Directors for all the wonderful support and teamwork over the past year while serving as President.  I am so thankful for all the great ideas, hard work, and commitment this board contributed to being a vital resource for Arkansas Healthcare Quality, Patient Safety, and Leadership Professionals.

Thank you all for a wonderful year!


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

Professional Development Round-Up

Justin Villines

Benefits and Personal Growth of becoming a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)

Becoming a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) signifies professional and academic achievement by those in the field of healthcare quality management. A CPHQ person is proficient in healthcare quality management at all employment levels and in all healthcare settings. There are no minimum education or work experience requirements that specifically need to be fulfilled in order to sit for the CPHQ examination; however, this examination is not designed for entry-level candidates. A minimum of two years’ experience in the field of healthcare quality management is recommended. The CPHQ credential signifies professional and academic by individuals in the field of healthcare quality profession. The CPHQ incorporates the body of knowledge in the healthcare quality profession, which includes:

  • Strategic and Operational roles in management and leadership
  • Information management, including design and data collection, measurement and analytics, and communication
  • Performance/quality measurement and improvement, including planning, implementation and evaluation, and training
  • Strategic and operational tasks in patient safety

Special Benefits for being Certified as a CPHQ

  • Assess the current status of healthcare operations and activities in hospitals.
  • Interpret, implement, and review the requirements of different healthcare international standards.
  • Identify the root causes of healthcare problems and identify potential opportunities for improvement.
  • Identify corrective and preventive actions for the healthcare problems that related to the processes and how to follow them.
  • Reduce errors in the healthcare examination, diagnosis, or treatment.
  • Reduce errors in healthcare operational procedures for hospitals.
  • Develop effective healthcare plans for audit and writing reports of non-conformists.

Ensure the stability of healthcare system performance and continuous improvement.

Protocol Team Report

Pam Blake

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 the 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 Update – 2020 Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting will be held virtually this year at noon on Friday, December 4th, 2020.  An email with additional meeting information will be sent prior to the event.

AAHQ Spotlight

Submitted by: Pam Cochran MSN RN-BC CPHQ, AAHQ Membership Team Lead

Have you ever worked with someone so professional and so competent that you can easily overlook all the team member contributes?  This type of associate makes everything seem so smooth!

Let me introduce you to Cindy Harris.  Cindy is an Administrative Assistant with the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA) Quality Team.  AAHQ has a strong affiliation with AHA and Cindy serves as our liaison.  But she is so much more.  If you have attended one of our educational conferences, you likely met her when she welcomed you as she served at the registration desk.  If you recently received an invoice from us for your 2020 dues, Cindy handles our membership lists and billing.  She attends our board meetings and serves as a collaborative voice between AAHQ and AHA. We would be lost without her!

Cindy has worked in quality for 14 years and been employed with AHA for 6 ½ years.  She is originally from Pine Bluff, but she currently lives in Little Rock.  She has two grown children, Jack and Sara. Sara works in marketing in Little Rock and Jack is an architect living and working in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

We are grateful for the professional relationship and personal friendship we share with her.  If you ever have a question about AAHQ, she is the go-to-person who will guide you in the right direction.  Here is her contact information.

Cindy Harris                                                                                                                                           T: 501.224.7878                                                                                                                                     E: charris@arkhospitals.org / arkhospitals.org                                                                          419 Natural Resources Drive / Little Rock, AR  72205

Cindy, thank you for all you do!  Today, we celebrate you.

External Relations Update

Sharon Aureli

COVID-19 and Mental Health

The numbers of Americans suffering from mental health disorders have more than tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic, as noted in a study published by JAMA ( July 7, 2020 Volume 324, Number 1).

According to the study, young adults, adults in low-income households, and Hispanics have shown the highest prevalence of anxiety and depression related to life changes and related stress, social distancing, fear of contracting the disease, and economic uncertainty related to high unemployment related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The percentage of U.S. adults who reported symptoms of psychological distress as of April 2020 was 13.6 percent which was up from 3.9 in 2018.

In the recent study in the young adult population (ages 18 to 24 years), 24 percent reported psychological distress compared to 3.7 percent in 2018.

Additionally, 19.3 percent of adults with annual household incomes less than $35,000 reported psychological distress in 2020 compared to 7.9 percent in 2018 which is likely related to the record numbers of people filing for unemployment benefits due to the pandemic.

Lastly, in the Hispanic population, 20 percent of the adults surveyed reported psychological distress in 2020 compared to 4.4 percent in 2018. Adults 55 years and older almost doubled to 7.3 percent in April 2020 from 3.8 percent in 2018.

Not only have these groups been worried about the threat of COVID-19 — millions of people have lost their jobs or have been furloughed and families have been forced to adjust rapidly to school closures and new routines.

The Arkansas Behavioral Health Integration Network (ABHIN) is a non-profit corporation recently created for the purpose of developing a professional learning collaborative that supports and encourages the integration of behavioral health services in medical settings throughout Arkansas.  As a volunteer grassroots network of organizations, institutions, individuals, ABHIN seeks to:

  • Increase implementation of BHI as part of team-based practice transformation
  • Facilitate training and network opportunities
  • Promote sustainability of behavioral health integration – financial, workforce development, etc.
  • Advocate for patients and healthcare providers

ABHIN has been providing free monthly training webinars, spreading education and awareness of resources, and recently been awarded the following grants:

  • $200,000 Award to Improve Treatment and Recovery Services for Opioid Use Disorder in Rural Arkansas

With over 67,000 deaths due to drug overdoses in 2018, the majority caused by opioids, the United States (US) is facing an epidemic. The opioid prescription rate in Arkansas is 93.2 prescriptions for every 100 persons, making it the second-highest rate in the US at nearly twice the national average (51.4 per 100). Rural communities in Arkansas face multi-faceted challenges in providing and accessing treatment and recovery services for opioid use disorders (OUDs). There is a significant shortage of psychiatrists, pain management specialists, and other addiction service providers. As a result, the burden of prevention, treatment, and recovery management falls largely on primary care providers (PCPs) and their care teams, many of whom lack the resources and time to treat such complex, costly, and high-risk patients.

There is strong evidence to support combining behavioral health services with primary care in rural communities. Using integrated behavioral health (IBH) services to address OUDs can reduce costs, decrease provider burnout, and improve provider satisfaction. IBH has also been shown to improve clinical outcomes and improve the quality of care patients receive.

The Arkansas Rural Opioid Use Team and Education (A-ROUTE) project will strengthen and expand the capacity of rural communities, PCPs, and mental health professionals to provide improved OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery services. This 18-month planning grant awarded by the Health Resources and Services Agency (HRSA) will engage a multi-sector consortium to conduct a needs assessment of 10 rural counties in Arkansas that are disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis. The A-ROUTE team will use this information to develop a strategic plan and road map to help Arkansas communities in crisis. The team will also form a technical assistance center and pilot test a training curriculum for PCPs and their care teams in four rural practices. The culmination of these efforts will be an enhanced landscape for the prevention, management, and treatment of OUDs in rural Arkansas.

  • $750,000 Award from HRSA to Reduce Suicides in Rural Arkansas

In Arkansas, more than four times as many people died by suicide than by alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in 2017, amounting to a death by suicide every 14 hours. The impact of suicide ripples through all communities but may be felt even harder in rural areas of the state where resources for prevention, identification, and treatment are less accessible and residents face more extreme health and economic disparities than their urban counterparts.

The Arkansas Lives Network of Care (ALiNC) project led by the Arkansas Behavioral Health Integration Network (ABHIN) aims to address this entirely preventable but tragic outcome. The ALiNC Project will bring together rural primary care providers, suicide prevention resources, and specialty behavioral health providers to coordinate services related to suicide prevention. Anchored in primary care, the ALiNC Project is grounded in the fact that one-half of people who complete suicide have an encounter with their primary care provider in the month prior.

By training primary care teams to utilize their skills to assess suicide risk and confidently connect patients with appropriate resources, ABHIN expects participating practices and local support services will play a pivotal role in preventing suicides in rural Arkansas.

COVID-19 alerts, updates, and information specific to Arkansas can be found through the Arkansas Department of Health.

Worldwide Diabetes Epidemic

Diabetes is now affecting people all over the world. According to the International Diabetes Federation, India has the highest concentration of people with diabetes, followed by China, the United States, Russia, Germany, and Japan (https://www.everyday health.com/diabetes/type2/the-diabetic epidemic-in-a-nutshell.aspx)

The prevalence of Diabetes in the US is projected to reach 39 million (15%) in 2020. The direct costs of diabetes care are predicted to be $500 billion in 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared diabetes a national epidemic. More than 84 million US adults (1 in 3) have PREDIABETES and 90% of them do not know it! Caring for diabetes accounts for 1 in 4 healthcare dollars in the US.  The prevalence of diabetes in Arkansas is even higher, with over 25,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

Type II diabetes, which accounts for the vast majority of diabetes cases, can be PREVENTED. Type II diabetes is very closely linked to obesity. We must work to educate BOTH children and adults with an emphasis on healthy food choices, daily exercise, and better health habits.

Screen by taking the prediabetes screening test https://www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/takethetest/

Test patients who screen positive and are at high risk for diabetes

Refer patients to a diabetes prevention program

Together we can promote cultural change by encouraging healthier lifestyle choices and help stem the tide of this growing epidemic.

References:                                                                                                                                          The United States of Diabetes – unitedhealthgroup.com. 2010. Accessed Dec 15, 2018, https://www.unitedhelathgroup.com/content/dam/UHG/PDF/2010/UNH-Working-paper-5.pdf

American Diabetes Association. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017. Diabetes Care. 2018;41:917-928

How Diabetes Became an Epidemic. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/type2/the-diabetes-epidemic-in-a-nutshell.aspx

Finance Action Team Report

Lynnette Jack

Our strong financial standing allowed AAHQ to pay for nineteen members to attend the NAHQ Next Virtual Conference.  The feedback was overwhelmingly positive with attendees enjoying the outstanding sessions that were offered Live and On-demand. In a time of uncertainty and turmoil, AAHQ is proud that our financial stewardship enabled us to offer a tremendous educational opportunity to our members.  Here are some of the comments from members who attended:

“The conference has been excellent.” Patrice Moody

“Great conference! I really appreciate the opportunity to receive an AAHQ scholarship and be part of this.” – Dave Vrundy

“I am loving the quality of the conference.” Phyllis Dorrough

“Conference visuals and information are PHENOMENAL so far. LOVED the music!” Shannon Finley

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.

Our financial balance as of August 31, 2020, was $29,656.35 which does not include the expenditure for NAHQ Next scholarships.  Thank you for all the member support that makes the work of AAHQ possible!

Quality Article

How One Hospital Took a Single Event and Made a Systemwide Improvement

By American Data Network

Lab processes are high volume and high risk. Sixty to 70% of all diagnoses are based on laboratory tests as well as decisions made to rule out diagnoses, prescribe treatment, and recommend admission or discharge. The analysis of their Specimens processes, identified I during ADNPSO’s recent nine-month Specimens Study, was the catalyst for system-wide change and improved the safety culture at Baptist Health Medical Center – Little Rock.

ADNPSO’s analysis of specimen data collected during the study confirmed that Hemolysis/Clotting accounted for 71.64% of aggregate specimen errors, prompting laboratory subject matter experts to begin a Rapid Cycle PDSA to define and address the cause. “A self-assessment survey was conducted for all participants, and it confirmed that not all of the nursing staff was formally trained in phlebotomy,” Phyllis Ragland, RN, CPHQ, CPPS, the Clinical Patient Safety Advisor for ADNPSO explained. “This skill is something that is learned by on-the-job training, preceptors, or mentors. Practices were not standardized across departments and facilities and nursing lacked the appropriate knowledge for efficient collections.” 

During the study, ADNPSO hosted learning sessions, which assisted participants in dissecting their hospital-specific data to prioritize at least one fractured Specimen process step. Once prioritized, reverse cause-mapping was used to uncover distinct areas of focus. Baptist Health prioritized the Hemolyzed Samples. By using the cause map below they identified four areas of potential errors: Site Prep, Equipment, Act of Collection, and Transfer to Test Tubes.


The system found that practices across departments and facilities were not standardized and nursing staff lacked knowledge and skills, which resulted in Collection Events. Baptist Health enlisted subject matter experts to develop a corrective action plan.

This discovery of the causes of hemolyzed samples became the foundation of phlebotomy training being included in the system’s School of Nursing curriculum. Patient Safety Officer & Clinical Risk Manager Misti Price, BSN, RN, CPHRM, shared an update on the changes to their program and curriculum. Two workflows were designed with the intention to ensure all nursing staff was properly educated in specimen collection and labeling—one for new nurses and one for current nursing staff. Utilizing experts from the laboratory department was crucial to their success.

“Nursing leaders and I will review the monthly specimen rejection report to evaluate and monitor for effectiveness,” Price explained. “This report drills down to the individual nurse. For current nursing staff, the laboratory phlebotomy educator will host multiple mandatory skills training courses on campus. Competency will be validated by return demonstration using the WHO’s best practice guidelines as a check-off. Remediation will include one of the seasoned phlebotomy staff conducting one-to-one follow-up with any nurse on the list of course and, understandably, under the direction of nursing.

For those who show up on the report, Baptist plans to require them to sign up for a full phlebotomy course. Nurses transferring from another hospital or area within their hospital will be given the opportunity to CLEP out. All new nurses will be required to attend the course and then observe during a half-day session with the phlebotomist in ED triage.

As a result of collaborating with laboratory personnel, a healthy rapport has developed between the departments. Baptist Health’s specimen process improvement is an excellent example of how a single event investigation can result in system-wide improvements.


 For more information about 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.

COVID-19 Laboratory Notifications: Important COVID-19 Information Update

By: Justin Villines, State Health Alliance for Records Exchange, SHARE

The Office of Health Information Technology, a Division Arkansas Department of Health is working with our health information exchange (SHARE, State Health Alliance for Records Exchange) participants, including the State of Arkansas, on important monitoring, surveillance, and care coordination initiatives to assist with this situation.

  • SHARE COVID-19 Lab Notifications service that brings alerts of test results to providers is at no charge to qualified participants that are already receiving the 24-hour daily reports of ED and Inpatient Discharges.
  • For SHARE Virtual Health Record users, we are working with our hospital partners on the details of the results they are sending to SHARE.
  • Working with our major reference lab providers to expand their data feeds to SHARE as well as working with the Arkansas Department of Health Laboratory to receive results for the testing that they are providing.

Providers will receive an initial message that includes patients (identified by the attribution list provided to SHARE) that have had a positive COVID-19 test from the Arkansas Department of Health from the beginning of testing until the current date. The following reports will include the positive cases SHARE received from ADH within the last 24/48 hours.

If you need assistance, please contact us at SHAREhealth@arkansas.gov  or call our Help Desk at 1-855-742-7327.





Uninterrupted Service – A Business Continuity Plan

By American Data Network

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most globally disruptive event in our lifetime. It has “no geographic, ideological, or political boundaries. It’s been an equal opportunity pestilence, and there’s no way to downplay its impact.”1 The pandemic has undoubtedly created an involuntary and urgent learning opportunity. Companies will either come out stronger or weaker, but all will be changed.

How do you position your organization to succeed through disruptive changes and make resilience a strategic priority? Having a plan in place is critical, so we do not over-or under-react to yesterday’s news. A key factor in resilience is gaining momentum quickly by relying on technology for productivity, innovation, and internal and external communication channels.

Cloud-based solutions offer access to world-class enterprise technology. Users can access information regardless of their physical location, use a device of their choice, gain complete visibility and control over their data, and collaborate in ways not otherwise possible. Having a fully digital Business Continuity Plan in place inspires trust in your organization and its leaders, both internally and externally. 

What technological tools will be the most helpful to replace “going to work” and enhance a virtual workspace? American Data Network (ADN), a healthcare quality software/services company and Patient Safety Organization, has compiled a list of some of the tech tools included in its Business Continuity Plan as well as similar options that can help keep your team connected and productive during a large scale disruption. (We also added some new resources our team has discovered while working from home.)

Below are 7 technology categories to consider when forging a Business Continuity plan. Many of the tools suggested here are free or have a free pricing tier, and most have enterprise-level plans as well.

1. Productivity tools. Email, calendars, virtual meetings, documents, spreadsheets, forms, presentations… Many organizations, as well as hospital systems, are abandoning the “static document” model in favor of cloud-based, live-editing solutions like Google Docs/Sheets (or just updating to Microsoft’s live option). These tools better enable group work in a single co-edited document, both when working remotely and in the same office. With Google Hangouts you can host “face-to-face” meetings anytime, anywhere.

Suggestion: G Suite (https://gsuite.google.com/) or Microsoft 365 (https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office) – While the normal production tool in your organization may be Microsoft Office you may consider using Google Docs or Sheets (through G Suite) or Microsoft 365, the cloud version of Microsoft Office for certain projects that require more group work. A suite of cloud computing offers many versatile productivity and collaboration tools. Subscriptions range from $6/8.25 to $25 per user per month. The difference between the subscriptions includes storage space, custom apps, cloud search capabilities, different levels of security, administrative controls, and data loss prevention. After collaboration, you have the option to download the Microsoft 365 file type and return to working and saving directly to your device.

Download a shortened version of this toolkit to keep handy when needed that also includes a list of some of our favorite Chrome browser extensions.

2. Cloud-based phone systems. You’ll want a platform that powers voice, video, messages, and voice meetings across existing devices. With cloud-based phone services, you’ll never miss an important call again by “being away from your desk.”

Suggestion: Dialpad (https://www.dialpad.com/) – 100% cloud architecture that gives you an unlimited global scale. It is integrated with G Suite, Microsoft 365, and other Customer Relationship Management tools. Pricing starts at $15 a month per user; there is also a free version and a free trial period.

3. Project management applications. A system that can track progress on projects is not only a great way for remote employees to work together, but it becomes a historical roadmap showing how you solved issues in the past and what worked and what didn’t. You can attach files and/or links to specific projects. It’s like having a file folder with not only all the documents present but all the dialog concerning the project as well.  

Suggestion: Smartsheet (https://www.smartsheet.com/) – Although ADN uses a more software-centric project management tool our research showed Smartsheet to be a great introduction to these types of applications. It assigns tasks, tracks project progress, manages calendars, shares documents, and manages other work. It uses a tabular interface which is described as the “simplicity of a spreadsheet with the flexibility of a database.” Smartsheet does offer a free 30-day trial, and pricing begins at $14 per month for a single user.

4. Team building. Finding an easy to use tool that people can use directly from their smartphones is a great way for co-workers to stay in touch, quickly share a new idea, communicate something in a personal way, and maintain camaraderie.

Suggestion: Marco Polo (https://www.marcopolo.me/) – this app is a relatively new video messaging app that works a bit like a tennis match… someone speaks, then someone else responds and the interaction keeps going. You can also create groups in the app. The great thing about Marco Polo is that you can catch up when it’s convenient for you. All the messages are saved in a thumbnail strip of short videos under the main window. This app is free and is a great way to still take that coffee break with your work-best-friend.

5. Instant messaging solutions with real business value. G Suite does offer a very easy to use “chat” service, but there are some beefed-up chat solutions that help you organize and log all those real-time discussions. A robust instant messaging tool will also keep your email inbox from filling-up and thus is much more efficient and saves on storage space.

Suggestion: Slack (https://slack.com/) – This is essentially a chat room for your whole team. It is designed to replace email as the primary method of communication and sharing. Its workspaces allow you to organize communications using channels that group team discussions by topic, and it also allows for private messages to share information, files, images, and more all in one place. Their free plan is a great way to start, and you may find it can do all you need. They do offer paid tiers. The per-seat price does seem slightly higher than other tools. So, reach out to them, and they’ll customize a plan for your situation.

6. Support and testing for connectivity issues. It’s important to have a resource in place to do some troubleshooting on your own should you have issues with connectivity speeds. Many times external neighborhood issues exist, and it’s good to rule those out when diagnosing a problem.

Suggestion: Speed of Me (https://speedof.me/) – This service is a broadband speed test that allows you to easily measure your actual internet speed on all your devices (desktops, mobile devices, tablets, etc). Speed of Me tests your internet connection by directly downloading/uploading sample files from your browser. It reflects your actual browsing and download experience.

7. Password management and security. Adding new technology tools means remembering new logins. A password manager provides multiple benefits. Passwords are stored in an encrypted form. Secure random passwords are chosen for you, allowing you to have the ability to never use the same password twice. And you can access your stored logins across different devices.

Suggestion: LastPass (https://www.lastpass.com/) – LastPass is a “freemium” password manager. The basic plan is free, but you can choose to add on features for a fee. The service is built in a way that makes LastPass very secure. LastPass will encrypt all of your passwords using a security key that only you know – your “master password.” Then it transmits the encrypted “blob” (as LastPass refers to it) to its servers when you need to log in somewhere. All you have to remember is your master password. There are paid features such as sharing a login with a coworker. You will never have to reveal your password – you can share the encrypted login with someone through LastPass, and they will never know what your password is.

Suggestion: How Secure is My Password? .net (https://howsecureismypassword.net/) – Here is a great resource to check the strength of a chosen password developed by a service similar to Lastpass called Dashlane. For instance, just by adding a special character to your password, you can go from a password that could be cracked by a computer in 8 months to one that would take 400 years to crack! Experts recommend using a 14+ alphanumeric password that also uses capitalization and special characters. The way to achieve a secure 14-character password is to come up with a sentence that’s 14 words long, and then use the first letter of each word while using special characters (e.g. @ for “at”, & for “and”, or the number 5 for “S”). For example: “I really enjoy working at Hospital Name and our quality team is number 1” would translate to “Irew@HN&oqti#1”. That password, according to How Secure is My Password, would take 2 OCTILLION YEARS to hack.

For more than 25 years, ADN has worked with large data sets from various sources, aggregating and mining data to identify patterns, trends, and priorities within the clinical, financial, quality, and patient safety arenas. ADN offers a full suite of products and services that help hospitals improve patient care and safety. Offerings include data analytics, abstraction, and software that’s used for clinical benchmarking, core measures, performance reporting, and patient safety event reporting.

Resources:                                                                                                          https://thenewstack.io/what-has-covid-19-taught-us-about-information-networks/

Article Review: Quality Improvement During the Covid-19 Pandemic (Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, May 29, 2020)

By: Beth M. Schooley, RN, BBA, CPPS, CPHQ, CHC, Howard Memorial Hospital

For those of you that work as a quality professional in a rural or critical access hospital like I do (or any size facility for that matter!), you are probably struggling with keeping up with all of the updates, policies, and procedures, and requirements related to Covid-19. In addition to all of that, you may wear multiple hats for other areas of responsibility and departments, as well as keeping up with your required and standard quality indicators and reporting. Working through the challenges of virtual vs. in person meetings and obtaining additional technology with limited resources provide more challenges to maintaining a meaningful and successful performance improvement team.

The May 29, 2020 article by the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine titled “Quality Improvement during the COVID-19 Pandemic” discusses just that.  Key recommendations provided by the article include:

  1. Structural and procedural changes need to be made to the quality teams to adapt to a dynamic pandemic environment.
  2. Engagement and communication are key both within the quality teams and with external leadership groups.
  3. The timely delivery of recommendations to clinicians with a multimodal approach is important.
  4. It is important to continue safety monitoring and enhance reporting structures to capture pandemic-associated safety events.
  5. The focus should remain on both pandemic-related quality metrics and pre-existing ones.

Quality improvement during a pandemic has presented us with some of the most challenging decisions we have had to make. It is important now more than ever to continue to utilize the vast amount of resources made available to us in order to provide the most up-to-date and effective patient care. Please feel free to contact any of the AAHQ board members for idea-sharing and net-working opportunities if you need help finding out what other facilities are doing for similar quality improvement concerns that you may have. We need each other!

Sources: Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine

Inter-Rater Reliability: What It Is, How to Do It, and Why Your Hospital’s Bottom Line Is at Risk Without It

By American Data Network



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.

2020 Board Members

President Clay Leigh                                                                            501-257-5933; 501-548-5693                                clayleigh.pi@gmail.com



Past-President Beth Schooley                                                           870-845-8014; 870-845-4178 fax              beths@howardmemorial.com



President-Elect & Protocol Pam Blake                                                  870-718-17-24                                                                  blakep@jrmc.org



Secretary Dalana Pittman                                                                  501-537-7944; 501-25-5539 fax dpittman@americandatanetwork.com



Professional Development Justin Villines                                      501-537-8924; 501-978-3940 fax  justin.villines@hit.arkansas.gov



Membership Services Pam Cochran                                                501-257-3087; 501-257-3110 fax                       autocontrols@att.net



External Relations Sharon Aureli                                                      501-202-1782; 501-202-6435                                    sharon.aureli@baptist-health.org



Finance Lynnette Jack                                                                          501-379-8980; 501-407-9288 fax                                  mqrs@comcast.net



Communication Amanda Wyatt Hutto                                           870-897-5525                                                  amanda.wyatthutto@tmf.org



Member-at-large Chelsey Davidson                                                 501-472-9011                                  chelsey.davidson@conwayregional.org



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!