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Patient Safety

Why Patient Safety Needs to be a Priority for Hospitals and Surgery Centers

A focus on patient safety provides better outcomes for patients and drives profitability and customer satisfaction for hospitals.

North American Partners in Anesthesia (NAPA), one of the leading single-specialty anesthesia and perioperative management companies in the country, prioritizes a commitment to safety and quality care. Every year, they serve about three million patients at over 500 healthcare facilities nationwide.

“We are really focusing on the patient,” says Julie Marhalik-Helms, BSN, RN, Vice President of Quality Improvement (QI) at NAPA. “We want patients to have a great experience, and we want to make sure that they have the best clinical outcome.” 

NAPA uses a multi-pronged approach to achieve best outcomes and high quality care, including partnering with clinical sites to implement Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS®) protocols, utilizing a patient-centered, evidence-based approach to improve patient care, decrease recovery time, and optimize patient outcomes. 

Patient outcomes

Since 1986, NAPA has continually invested in technology, people, and processes to promote exceptional experiences for its patients and anesthesia clinicians. The company’s QI team now manages an anesthesia clinical database with over 10 million anesthetics reported, mining information to disseminate to its clinicians in 20 states and elevate patient care. Most recently,  NAPA founded the NAPA Anesthesia Patient Safety Institute, one of only 93 Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) in the United States approved by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), to create a Culture of Safety across NAPA’s organization.  

Reducing costs

As NAPA continues to support the implementation of ERAS protocols at its hospitals and ASCs, it is also keenly focused on the prevention of unanticipated critical events and complications. Initiatives to enhance patient safety   provided under its PSO include safe table case reviews, root cause analyses, innovative communication practices, and clinical education across the company’s national network of nearly 6,000 anesthesia providers.  Additionally, NAPA’s Quality team regularly conducts quality meetings in which anesthesia leaders throughout the organization review complex cases, discuss standards of care, review patient safety and outcomes data, and highlight monthly patient safety topics that are presented to clinical quality leaders in an open dialogue forum.  Marhalik-Helms says, “While publications cite a cost savings between $1,500-$5,000 per patient for use of ERAS protocols, the costs associated with treating preventable complications and readmissions can be well into the tens of thousands of dollars. We focus on all aspects to promote the best results.” 

Hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) also benefit from NAPA’s strong focus on QI.  The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collects a variety of data to calculate a star rating for medical care facilities and clinicians, which is available to the public. NAPA’s Quality and Patient Safety Program provides support to its partnering facilities to optimize ratings, and has voluntarily reported quality data to the CMS Quality Payment Program (QPP, previously PQRS) since 2015, before reporting was linked to reimbursement.  NAPA’s Patient Experience program has a proven track record in support of higher reported patient satisfaction, which is another factor in CMS’s star rating.

Marhalik-Helms says, “Our goal is to support our clinicians so that they can take the best care of our patients, and also to be a strong partner to our client hospitals and surgery centers.” 

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