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For the first time, Joint Commission-accredited hospitals have access to an interactive tool that simplifies the process for solving the most persistent healthcare quality and safety problems that exist within the U.S. healthcare system. The Targeted Solutions Tool (TST), which encapsulates the work of the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, provides a step-by-step process to measure performance, identify barriers to excellent performance, and implement proven solutions.
The first set of targeted solutions, created by eight of the countrys leading hospitals and healthcare systems that worked with the center, is for improving hand hygiene. The TST provides accredited hospitals the foundation and framework of an improvement method that, if implemented well, will improve an organizations hand hygiene compliance and contribute substantially to its efforts to reduce the frequency of healthcare-associated infections. The complimentary data-driven tool provides validated and customized solutions to address an organizations particular barriers to excellent performance. Self-paced and confidential, the TST offers instantaneous data analysis.
"I encourage hospital leaders to use these tools to identify very specific ways to improve their hand hygiene programs," says Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, president of the the Joint Commission. "Consistent excellence in hand hygiene is vital to our larger aim of eliminating preventable healthcare-associated infections. The Targeted Solutions Tool provides hospitals with powerful new knowledge and methods they can use right away to make substantial advances toward this goal."
At the start of the project in April 2009, the participating hospitals were surprised to learn that their rate of hand hygiene compliance averaged 48 percent. By June 2010 they had reached an average rate of 82 percent that had been sustained for eight months. Nineteen small, medium and large hospitals across the country also collaborated with the center to test the work of the original eight hospitals and provide guidance on the development of the solutions that are now available through the TST. These hospitals are experiencing similar gains as the original eight.
"Healthcare technology today is advanced and expensive. It is inspiring to direct our focus back to the basics of proper handwashing, an inexpensive but critically effective tool, in fighting infection. We anticipate our quality of patient care to increase as the threat of infection decreases," says Anita Walden, vice president of nursing at Decatur General in Decatur, Ala., who was involved in testing the TST.
"Using the TST has revitalized and re-energized our organizations ongoing hand hygiene education activities, engaging leadership and staff. It has created enthusiasm and raised awareness about new approaches and helpful solutions," says Mary Ann Barnes, senior vice president and executive director of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals in San Diego, a pilot site for the TST. "From the training materials to the step-by-step approach, to the collection tool to the analysis provided online, this tool is straightforward in nature and thorough in execution."
As issues such as wrong-site surgery, surgical site infections and hand-off communications are tackled through the center, the solutions developed by the projects will be incorporated into the TST.
The center acknowledges support from the American Hospital Association, BD, Ecolab, GE Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson, Medline, GOJO Industries, Inc. and the Federation of American Hospitals.