There's a saying that “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.” This is so true, especially of rehospitalization rates, which have been in the forefront of the industry for quite a while now. The challenge — aside from lowering them — was that everyone was measuring return-to-hospital rates differently.
While each metric individually has value to monitor change (if used consistently by a skilled nursing facility), they're not effective or accurate when it comes to marketing to referral sources, benchmarking, and championing industry advocacy if we all use different measures.
You've lived this before. Think how frustrating it is to be judged on your pressure ulcer or restraint use rate by surveyors, corporate, nursing home compare or Five-Star when you know you're measuring it differently than others.
Without one universally identified and accepted measure, the SNF provider community had no clear way to communicate to consumers or referral sources their performance in terms of rehospitalization rates. Stakeholders were left wondering what constitutes good quality.
Fortunately, the healthcare community has the National Quality Forum as our arbiter of standards. This past year, the NQF had the great responsibility of reviewing applications with various ways of measuring rehospitalization and selecting a measure that was valid, reliable and adjusted for case-mix. Armed with this new standard, the SNF industry can collectively move forward to further reduce rehospitalizations. We can discuss outcomes, share results and truly identify best practices.
Accountable care organizations, Bundled Payments for Care Improvement and managed care organizations needing to create preferred networks are already migrating to this endorsed standard. Standardization in measurement provides clarity and creditability to your message and ensures that you are speaking the same language as your referral source. Most importantly, now you can consistently measure it and manage it