Healthcare Affiliation Networks: A Unique Quality Partnership to Aid in Making Communities Healthier

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As the healthcare environment continues to evolve, many community hospitals of all sizes are finding it difficult to thrive and grow in the headwinds of increasing regulatory requirements, decreased reimbursements amidst healthcare reform efforts, increased requirements for efficiency, demands for improvement in the patient experience, and increasing penalties for lagging performance in patient safety and quality metrics. A unique partnership, involving an organization built upon expertise in operating community hospitals and an academic center with expertise in patient safety, quality, innovation, and care delivery, has provided a successful solution for a growing number of challenged community facilities. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how using standardized patient safety, quality improvement processes, and high-reliability strategies in community hospitals has been supported and enhanced through the development of a healthcare affiliation network with an academic medical center. By developing this type of quality affiliation, hospitals across a broad spectrum of sizes and locations can achieve significant improvement in safety culture while demonstrating measureable advances in quality and safety and supporting their mission of “making communities healthier, together.”

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