Tracking Data is a Key Component of QAPI Programs, not only for CMS but also now with UNOS
One of the most challenging aspects of transplant program management is ensuring that your Quality Assessment and Process Improvement programs are measuring meaningful and actionable items that lead to program improvement. There are many factors that contribute to these projects but one thing in common is that they are all data-driven.
Center outcomes are clearly impacted by data that is collected relative to patients as this data tells us how the patient is doing and is also used to calculate expected outcomes. One challenge that we see when helping centers assess their operational efficiency is lab turn-around. While at first thought, this may be taken to mean the time it takes to get a lab back from an outside lab, what is really important is the time it takes to produce an actionable event. Having an outside lab or physician's office send you a lab within 24 hours is not useful if the data is trapped in a voicemail or in a pile of faxed papers that needs to be sorted and distributed to the appropriate person's mailbox or manually entered into the EMR before that information is actionable.
An elevated CMV PCR or toxic range tacrolimus level that is not acted upon for a few days due to being lost in a pile of papers, or the unrecognized unexpected HCV positive result, can lead to potential issues for a program in terms of QAPI and ultimately compliance with the CMS Conditions of Participation. Workflow process solutions, such as automated data management, can help programs avoid these types of issues and improve outcomes and safety. QAPI projects can focus upon improving workflow processes and efficiencies that will lead to better reported outcomes. With the increased emphasis on QAPI programs, not only by CMS but potentially by UNOS as well, programs that are prepared to embrace these processes will ultimately be more successful.
For more on this topic, join me for a webinar Wednesday, April 29th.