Quality Counts | Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System

Quality Counts

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Tue, September 16, 2014 -- Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System

Quality Initiatives
Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System participates in several quality initiatives. Some are for The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and some are for other organizations, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS).
To help you, as a consumer, make the best informed decisions about your options for healthcare, please review the information available here. Continually improving the quality of services and performance of staff is a key principle of the System. The intent of this site is to share information to demonstrate our commitment to patient safety and quality outcomes.

Hutchinson Regional Medical Center Quality Measures

Medicare Hospital Compare Website

The term ‘SAFER’ encourages adults to be active participants in their health care. SAFER stands for:

  • Speak up
  • Ask questions
  • Find the facts
  • Evaluate your choices
  • Read the label and follow directions

Speak up - adults need to share more information about their medical history (illnesses, medical conditions, surgery, all medicines – including prescription and sample medicines, over-the-counter[OTC] medicines, and herbs/supplements). The more information shared among a patient’s healthcare team, the better informed they can be when planning for the patient’s care. A team of healthcare providers can include: physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses, pharmacists, mental health professionals, and patients.

Ask questions - adults should write their questions down, take notes on the answers, and bring along a friend or relative to provide back-up during appointments in which medications will be discussed.

Find the facts - adults should seek information about the drugs they take, including brand and generic names, the active and inactive ingredients, the uses of a medicine, warnings, possible interactions, side effects, tolerance, dependence or addiction, overdose, directions, storage instructions, and expiration. This information can be obtained from the package insert that comes with the medication, your healthcare provider or a pharmacist.

Evaluate your choices - adults should think carefully about helpful and unwanted effects, decide what is important for them individually, and get expert advice from the health care team.

Read the label and follow directions – adults should read the label to learn about the ingredients in the medicine they take and decide if the medicine is right for them. It is important to take medications as prescribed to help prevent adverse reactions.

Adverse drug events are a large public health problem. In the U.S. adverse drug events (ADE) cause over 700,000 emergency department visits each year. Nearly 120,000 patients each year need to be hospitalized for further treatment after emergency visits for ADE. As more and more people take more medicines, the risk of adverse drug events may increase. (CDC, 2012)

Whether it be over-the-counter, prescription, vitamins, or supplements, older adults generally take more medications than any other age group. Older adults (65 years or older) are twice as likely as others to come to the emergency department for ADE and nearly seven times more likely to be hospitalized due to medication issues.

Possible unpleasant side effects of medications, herbs and supplements include sleepiness, blurred vision, dizziness, slowed movement, fainting, inability to focus or pay attention and nausea. These side effects can often lead to other issues such as falling and confusion.

Risk factors for medication problems may include:

  • Having more than ONE doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. When many providers prescribe medications for you, you are exposing yourself to more risk for medication-related problems.
  • The number of medications taken (polypharmacy) also acts as a risk factor for falls, with the rule of thumb being a combination of four or more medications.
  • Interactions between prescribed and nonprescribed drugs, drugs and alcohol, or food and drink, can increase your risk of having a medication problem. Make sure you know how to take your medication (for example, with or without food). Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if your medication reacts with other drugs.
  • Many medicines do not mix well with alcohol. As you grow older, your body may react differently to alcohol, as well as the mix of alcohol and medicines.
  • Body changes can affect the way medicines are absorbed and used. For example, changes in the digestive system can affect how fast medicines enter the bloodstream. Changes in body weight can influence the amount of medicine you need to take and how long it stays in your body. The circulation system may slow down, which can affect how fast drugs get to the liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys also may work more slowly, affecting the way a drug breaks down and is removed from the body.
  • A good diet is imperative for an older adult, especially if they are taking medication. It is important that patients’ bodies are healthy enough to handle and process medication.
  • Poor medication compliance. You should take the medication(s) exactly as prescribed. Don’t stop taking medications without first talking with your provider.

More than likely, you will see doctors other than your primary care provider. If you do, it is very important that you show that other provider your medication list. It is also important that you inform your regular doctor and pharmacist if any additional medications are prescribed or suggested by another health care provider. It is very important that you regularly see ONE provider (your primary provider) and ONE pharmacist who knows about all the medications you are taking, including non-prescription or over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and vitamins. This is important because they can better monitor any potential interactions that could cause you problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services and Department on Aging also have more information that an individual can access online.