HMS CQI Receives Endorsements from National Quality Forum

HMS CQI Receives Endorsements from National Quality Forum

Michigan healthcare systems and professionals have the unique opportunity to leverage a portfolio of Collaborative Quality Initiatives (CQIs), all working diligently to support collaboration and data sharing. Together with their partners, these CQIs improve the quality and value of healthcare in Michigan and beyond. One such CQI achieved a momentous distinction in January 2023 when the National Quality Forum (NQF) recognized the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium (HMS) with two prestigious endorsements for measures that can reduce unnecessary antibiotic use.

“We are incredibly proud of the work our collaborative has accomplished to date,” said Dr. Scott Flanders, MD, HMS Program Director. “Having two of our quality measures validated by the National Quality Forum reinforces the value of our work in Michigan and across the nation.”

The focus of these measures relates to two common and costly hospital incidents: inappropriate diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in hospitalized medical patients, and inappropriate diagnosis of urinary tract infection (UTI) in hospitalized medical patients. HMS’s work in this space began in 2017 when the Joint Commission launched required standards for hospital antimicrobial stewardship. The HMS team, led by infectious disease physician Dr. Tejal Gandhi, partnered with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and validate related quality measures across a diverse set of hospitals. The primary aim of this work was to prevent the use of unnecessary antibiotics, which can lead to adverse events, antibiotic resistance, and delays in diagnosing underlying conditions. Since antimicrobial use is broad within the hospital setting, HMS first narrowed its scope to CAP and UTIs, which accounted for up to 50% of antibiotic use in general hospitalized patients. The HMS team collected hospital data on the appropriate duration of treatment for patients with uncomplicated CAP as well as testing and treatment of asymptomatic patients with a UTI. The CDC already uses HMS collaborative-wide improvement rates to set national targets.

In the early years of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) Value Partnership program, several CQIs were actively partnering with hospitals on various aspects and types of surgery. However, this failed to account for the care of hospitalized medical patients, who are at risk for adverse events and account for over 50% of healthcare costs. In response, HMS was established with the aim to help Michigan hospitals improve patient safety and care quality for hospitalized medical patients (i.e., general medicine, emergency medicine, infectious diseases, pharmacy, vascular access, etc.). HMS supports hospitals via rigorous data collection and analysis, as well as collaboration on best practice implementation.

Since its formation, the HMS team has achieved many substantial successes throughout its tenure. Long before its antibiotic stewardship initiative, HMS had significant success working on venous thromboembolism (VTE). The collaborative helped hospitals make significant gains by increasing rates of VTE risk assessment, increasing pharmacologic prophylaxis in at-risk patients, and increasing the use of mechanical prophylaxis in patients with contraindications for pharmaceutical prophylaxis. The HMS VTE initiative has since been retired, though resources are still available here.

In 2014, HMS pivoted into other areas of patient safety when members voted to focus on the appropriate use of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) and measuring complication rates associated with these devices, led by hospitalist Dr. Vineet Chopra. At the time, the use of these devices was growing and there were few evidence-based best practices to support indications for use and management of complications. Together with national experts and collaborative members, HMS developed guidelines for the use of devices in different scenarios, a resource known as the Michigan Appropriate Guide to Intravenous Catheters (MAGIC) that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This toolkit is used across the world to determine appropriate catheter device use and is offered in conjunction with other PICC quality improvement resources on the HMS website here.

In conjunction with its PICC initiative, HMS later adopted a focus on the appropriate use and complication rates for midlines. While doing quality work related to PICCs, a number of HMS member hospitals noticed significant use of midlines at their hospitals. HMS leveraged its unique ability to collect data on midline use across its membership to understand complication rates, which resulted in the development of the HMS Midline Toolkit available here.

More recently in 2021, HMS launched a new sepsis initiative at 12 volunteer pilot sites, collecting data to assess the care of patients diagnosed with sepsis, led by intensivist Dr. Hallie Prescott. The initiative was introduced to the remaining HMS-member hospitals in January 2023. The sepsis initiative focuses on the care of sepsis patients during the entire continuum of care, including on admission/early diagnosis, inpatient hospitalization, discharge, and 90 days post-hospitalization.

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) and HMS teams have partnered several times over the years, especially on recent sepsis-related initiatives. Developed in partnership with HMS, MVC developed and shared a sepsis report with MVC and HMS member hospitals in 2021 and 2022, providing insights on measures such as 90-day price-standardized total episode payments, inpatient length of stay, ICU/CCU utilization, 90-day post-acute care utilization, and 90-day readmission rates. Both CQIs hoped to facilitate cross-collaboration between clinical and quality personnel on the identification of patterns, opportunities, and strategies related to care for sepsis patients. MVC and HMS have also partnered on various matching exercises designed to bring MVC’s robust administrative claims data together with HMS’s clinically rich abstracted data to further inform quality improvement efforts.

Projects focused on such a large, diverse patient population inherently come with complex challenges. One challenge is the need for HMS to engage all areas of the hospital, generating buy-in among those individuals treating hospitalized medical patients. At the outset, HMS primarily engaged with member hospitals and hospitalists. However, over the last several years the collaborative has increasingly engaged muti-disciplinary stakeholders, such as infectious disease physicians, critical care physicians, emergency medicine, infection preventionists, pharmacists, vascular access experts, interventional radiologists, nursing, and hospital leadership.

As evidenced by its recent endorsement and focus areas to date, the work of the HMS team impacts the majority of patients treated at Michigan hospitals and beyond. With a focus on improving care for hospitalized patients, there are also many other possible focus areas for quality improvement on the horizon. For more information on HMS, visit their website.

As MVC continues to build its offerings for members, the MVC Coordinating Center is cognizant that hospitals and providers partner with multiple CQIs. Throughout 2023, MVC will post quarterly blogs about some of its peer CQIs to showcase their activities and highlight collaborations with MVC. Please reach out to the MVC Coordinating Center with questions.


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