Newton-Wellesley Recognized for Improved Patient Care





NEWTON, Mass. (September 19, 2012)  – Newton-Wellesley Hospital is one of 100 hospitals (and in the top 25%) recently lauded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and George Washington University for its participation in a prestigious national program to improve the quality and safety of patient care. The effort is part of Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q), a national program to significantly improve health care in targeted communities.

For the last 18 months, hospitals nationwide worked together through AF4Q to improve the quality of care for their patients in measurable ways. Newton-Wellesley Hospital chose to focus solely on cardiac patients by working to reduce heart failure readmissions. Based on data from the 18 months of work with the RWJF, it was determined that by reducing avoidable readmissions Newton-Wellesley was able to save approximately $187,000.

“At Newton-Wellesley, we constantly strive for a culture of constant improvement, and this program has helped us fuel that culture and provide even better care to our patients,” said Leslie Selbovitz, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Senior VP for Medical Affairs. “We try to deliver care as we would teach it."

Funded by RWJF, the nation’s largest health care philanthropy, and staffed by experts at The George Washington University, AF4Q is an unprecedented effort to improve quality of care in communities nationwide. Hospitals participating in the effort were part of a virtual network where they developed, shared, and implemented quality improvement tools, strategies, and lessons learned.

For example, NWH implemented a teach back concept on all medical surgical units, an educational tool to evaluate the patient's comprehension around discharge instructions. The use of teach back closes the gap of communication between clinician and patient, while the patient's understanding is confirmed when it is explained back to the educator/clinician. In addition to teach back, case management staff schedules follow up primary care provider appointments for the patient within seven days of discharge from the hospital. These types of strategies are then shared with other AF4Q hospitals.

National data show about one in four Medicare patients admitted to the hospital for chronic diseases return to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. There are thousands of reasons for readmissions – including issues such as poor patient-provider communication – but experts agree they can be avoided.

“Healthcare providers these days face continual pressures to be accessible, affordable and efficient, while providing high quality care,” added Dr. Selbovitz. “At Newton-Wellesley Hospital, we are always looking for ways to streamline processes, while ensuring our patients are placed in the right care setting at the right time, which will ultimately lead to reduced costs.”

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Rachel Kagno
Public Affairs & Marketing
Newton-Wellesley Hospital

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