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CMS gives 213 hospitals 'five stars' for patient experience. See how yours fared...
May 2018 |

CMS on April 25 updated its Hospital Compare website with new Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) summary star ratings.

CMS' summary star rating scores hospitals on a one-to-five-star scale based on the 11 publicly reported measures in HCAHPS survey, which assesses patient experiences. The agency started assigning hospitals patient experience star ratings based solely on HCAHPS scores in April 2015. The latest update is based on HCAHPS survey data collected between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.

4 ways patient experience may be costing you
The patient experience summary star ratings are distinct from CMS' overall quality star ratings, which are scheduled to be updated in July. Overall star ratings are based on 62 quality measures from seven categories: effectiveness of care, efficient use of imaging, mortality, patient experience, readmissions, safety, and timeliness of care.


A map of the country’s hospitals and their rankings is available on the Advisory Board’s Web site (registration is required to view the map). Read more >

Considerations for Implementing

New POC Testing
Tyler Gledhill, BS, Robert L. Schmidt, MD, PhD, MBA, Brenda VanCleve, MT(ASCP), Sandra K. White, MS, Medical Laboratory Management, Clinical Leadership & Management Review

Point-of-care testing (POCT) can deliver significant benefits to both patients and providers, and due to this, POCT has experienced rapid growth in recent years. While the end result of POCT can be quite positive, proper implementation and management can present challenges and requires vigilant oversight to ensure success. Regardless of whether the organization is new to POCT or has a fully functioning POCT department, implementing a new POC test requires careful planning. Test implementation can raise unique issues that may be unfamiliar to laboratory and hospital staff. These include consideration of federal and state regulations, relationships with regulatory and accreditation bodies, POC test management and technical performance, and overall fit with the organization.

Taking an administrative viewpoint, laboratory directors must focus on test justification and dispersion when considering a new POCT. Before approving an application to implement POCT, it is key that laboratory leadership consider the following issues.

Determine Necessity and Benefit

Requests for new POC tests typically originate from clinicians who desire more expedited results. Ideally, a rapid result enables physicians to provide a diagnosis or prescribe a treatment at the time of the patient encounter. This can reduce the time to therapy, increase adherence, and reduce the potential for errors in handling specimens. However, managers should exercise caution before instituting new POCT, as the benefits are highly dependent on the context in which the test will be implemented. Read more >

American College of Physicians

Recommends Less Restrictive HbA1c Targets

The Sample: May 2018, Clinical Laboratory News

In a controversial new clinical guideline, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends less restrictive HbA1c targets for glycemic control in most patients with type 2 diabetes; between 7% and 8% rather than 6.5% or 7% as recommended by other groups (Ann Intern Med 2018; doi:10.7326/M17-0939).


ACP based this advice on evidence about the benefits and harms of lower HbA1c targets from clinical trials considered by the other groups in setting their HbA1c targets. “ACP’s analysis of the evidence behind existing guidelines found that treatment with drugs to targets of seven percent or less compared to targets of about eight percent did not reduce deaths or microvascular complications such as heart attack or stroke but did result in substantial harms,” said Jack Ende, MD, president of ACP. Read more >

POC Glucose:

Views on Volume, Critical Care, ACOs

CAP Today, April 2018


Test volume, limitations on devices used in critical care, consolidation, and population health is what CAP TODAY asked about when it spoke in March with the makers of three bedside glucose testing systems.


“Customers are more aware than ever of the limitations that are in the package inserts from the glucose manufacturers,” says Corrine Fantz, PhD, director of medical and scientific affairs for point-of-care testing, Roche Diagnostics. But she and Kevin Peacock, clinical marketing manager, HemoCue America, say there is still confusion.


This article features responses to the following questions posed by CAP Today senior editor Amy Carpenter Aquino.

  • How has the decline in reimbursement coupled with a retreat from tight glycemic control affected test volume for patients at the bedside?

  • How are your customers adapting to the limitations on glucose devices for critical care applications?

  • How has system consolidation—including established system clinics, ERs, and acquired physician practices—affected POC glucose testing for ambulatory patient testing?

  • How does glucose testing and the management of patients with diabetes fit into the concern laboratories have now for population health and accountable care organizations?

For the complete article, click here.  |  Glucose systems are profiled here.

Thinking Beyond The Instrument

Laboratories are using IQCP to bring preanalytic and postanalytic factors into focus and improve patient care


Nearly 5 years ago, the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) introduced a new option for laboratory quality control (QC) called the Individualized Quality Control Plan (IQCP). Laboratories could create an IQCP as an alternative to performing two levels of external QC per day of patient testing (default QC), as long as their risk assessment supported a longer QC interval and it complied with manufacturers’ instructions.


The catch? Equivalent quality control (EQC), an option that had been available since 2004, was being eliminated. EQC allowed labs to run external QC on a weekly or monthly basis for tests with built-in QC features, as long as the schedule met minimum manufacturers’ recommendations.


Under the new rules, which took effect in January 2016 after a 2-year educational period, labs needed to write an IQCP for every test that had been operating with EQC or perform default QC. Laboratory managers, particularly those in charge of point-of-care testing (POCT, were faced with the daunting task of conducting risk assessments and writing IQCPs for dozens or even hundreds of tests.  Read more >


IBM Watson Health Announces 100 Top Hospitals
Formerly the Truven Health Analytics 100 Top Hospitals, 2018 Study Finds Top U.S. Hospitals Improve Outcomes at Lower Cost and Higher Profit Margins than Peers

IBM Watson Health™ today published its 100 Top Hospitals® annual study identifying top–performing hospitals in the U.S. based on overall organizational performance. Formerly known as the Truven Health Analytics® 100 Top Hospitals, this study spotlights the best–performing hospitals in the U.S. based on a balanced scorecard of publicly available clinical, operational, and patient satisfaction metrics and data. It has been conducted annually since 1993.

Overall, the Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals® study found that the top-performing hospitals in the country achieved better risk-adjusted outcomes while maintaining both a lower average cost per beneficiary and higher profit margin than non-winning peer group hospitals. Did your hospital make the list?

Click here for more stories in our Article Archives...



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Last updated: 05/24/2018 Questions or corrections: © 2016  BACK TO TOP