At Texas Health Resources, Transparency Drives Performance Improvement

Demonstrating our commitment to accountability and transparency to drive continuous performance improvement, the Texas Health Resources Board of Trustees and senior leadership recently approved creating a patient safety and quality dashboard that will give everyone–employers, physicians, patients, and the public–an unbiased window into performance at all of Texas Health Resources’ wholly-owned hospitals.

The “Quality and Safety Report to the Community: A Transparent Report Card from Texas Health Resources” will be posted here today.

In the same spirit as our Stewardship Report, Community Responsibility & Sustainability Report, and Form 990 public financial reports, the Quality and Safety Report is an additional way of demonstrating our accountability for the resources and trust the community has invested with us.

Transparency means that we must continually challenge ourselves to improve because the people in the communities we serve will now be able to see how we’re doing. But more importantly, we are committed to transparency because it is the right thing to do. It is a commitment to the sacred trust between Texas Health and the people of North Texas who come to us for care.

We are living in a new world of transparency in everything we do as a healthcare system, and we are seizing the initiative so that we can set the benchmarks where they should be set.

The Quality and Safety Report from Texas Health Resources is based on a variety of indicators, mostly clinical data, and it includes the most currently available data.

Three basic rules govern what the report covers:

  1. If Texas Health offers a medical procedure or treatment, we will try to find a third-party indicator that is appropriate to report.
  2. All the indicators we use will be owned by some other organization—they will not be proprietary to Texas Health Resources.
  3. We will include both the positive and negative metrics. We will not censor those we do not like.

There are many hospital performance reports available, but there are very few health care systems in the country that publish quality indicators using third-party measures. Even fewer also publish both the positive and negative information.

Some of the public reports and websites where consumers can find information about quality and patient safety are:

  • Hospital Compare is a government-sponsored site.
  • Hospital is a site created by the Association of Healthcare Journalists.
  • Leapfrog is an employer initiative.
  • HealthGrades and Thomson-Reuters are for-profit companies that rank health providers and sell consulting services.
  • Consumer Reports ranks hospitals and physicians.

While there may be value in proprietary measures used in some of the reports listed above, we believe they provide a less transparent and comparable view of performance than can be accomplished by the use of nationally endorsed indicators of quality and safety. The indicators used in the Quality and Safety Report from Texas Health Resources have been developed by national specialty organizations based on the best current medical evidence, have gone through a rigorous consensus process, and have transparent and easily understandable indicator specifications.

Improving quality and safety will be our mantra everywhere – in the practices of Texas Health Physicians Group, in our wholly-owned hospitals, in our joint-venture hospitals, in our research endeavors, in our imaging centers—every place, every time we touch a patient.

We want to acknowledge the pioneering work in quality and safety reporting done by other health systems, most notably Norton Healthcare headquartered in Kentucky. Norton Healthcare has been a valuable collaborator in enabling us to learn from their experience. We cannot say it any better than Norton Healthcare’s statements of why we are committed to this initiative:

  • We like what hospital reporting will do for consumers.
  • We like what open reporting will do for us.
  • We like what open reporting does for hospital care in general.

Transparent reporting will not only drive improved performance, it embodies the essence of Texas Health Resources’ Mission, Vision and Values. Our mission is to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve. Our vision is a faith-based organization joining with physicians, will be the healthcare system of choice. Our values are respect, integrity, compassion and excellence.

We encourage other health systems to join us and embrace transparency in reporting quality and safety because it will raise the performance bar for all of us, and it is the right thing to do for the people of the communities we are privileged to serve.

Douglas D. Hawthorne is CEO of Texas Health Resources, a health system with 25 acute care and short-stay hospitals. 

Posted in Expert Opinions.
  • Babu Welch

    While this editorial is informative, it also needs to be interpreted as biased as the author is the CEO of a system that will begin releasing its own information “for patients”. Like any sound byte, the quality data provided to patients is sparse and can easily be misinterpreted, or manipulated. I would caution any patient that reads these data to utilize them to begin a conversation with their physician. The website, the webmaster, nor the hospital administrator who commands both, did not go to medical school and commit their lives to patient care.