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Dome - Core Measures by the Numbers

Dome June/July 2013
Issue No. 646

Core Measures by the Numbers

Date: July 5, 2013


In 2000, The Joint Commission launched a pilot program to track whether hospitals followed 10 best practices, known as core measures, when treating patients for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia or care related to pregnancy. 

In 2014, hospitals must report their performance for 73 core measures, including new best care practices related to stroke, blood clots and mental health.


Improvements at Johns Hopkins

Last year, 40 workgroups across five hospitals focused on a new goal to improve on nine targeted measures in six areas: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma care and vaccination. 

As a system, Johns Hopkins achieved 97 percent compliance with seven of the nine targeted measures in 2012.

Howard County General Hospital, Suburban Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Hospital received the 2013 Excellence Award for Quality Improvement in Hospitals from the Delmarva Foundation for their improved performance in core measures. 


The Impact/Scope


Core measures performance can impact the health system’s bottom line by up to $5 million each year. That number is expected to increase as more core measures are added and peer hospitals improve their performance. 

Twenty chart abstractors review an estimated 35,000 patient charts to check compliance with core measures annually for five hospitals based in Maryland and D.C. 



At Sibley Memorial Hospital, the readmission rate of heart failure patients dropped by 7 percent after the launch of a pilot program in fall 2012.

A Johns Hopkins Hospital team reduced the time between arrival and treatment for heart attack patients requiring immediate care from around 90 minutes, the national benchmark, to an average of 66 minutes.

Last year, Howard County General Hospital increased its compliance with removing urinary catheters from patients by the second day after surgery—a step that prevents urinary tract infections—by 10 percent.

IT changes to the way medication lists are pulled from the electronic medical record helped Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center increase its compliance by 10 percent on a core measure that tracks whether heart failure patients receive the right instructions upon discharge.

Suburban Hospital generates five daily reports that the pharmacy uses to ensure that patients are identified and assessed for vaccination—a process that has helped the hospital continue strong performance on global immunization.